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Title: Famous Discoverers and Explores of America - Their Voyages, Battles, and Hardships in Traversing and Conquering the Unknown Territories of a New World
Author: Johnston, Charles H. L. (Charles Haven Ladd)
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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      *      *      *      *      *      *


Each, one volume, illustrated, $2.00
Except as otherwise noted



      First Series       $2.50
      Second Series      $2.50


                           CHARLES LEE LEWIS



                             EDWIN WILDMAN



 THE FOUNDERS OF AMERICA or, Lives of Great Americans from the
 Revolution to the Monroe Doctrine.

 THE BUILDERS OF AMERICA or, Lives of Great Americans from the Monroe
 Doctrine to the Civil War.


 (_new revised edition_)

 or, Lives of Great Americans from the Civil War to To-day.


                          TRENTWELL M. WHITE

      Third Series      $2.50

                     L. C. PAGE & COMPANY, BOSTON

      *      *      *      *      *      *

[Illustration: AMERIGO VESPUCCI (_see page 45_)]


Their voyages, battles, and hardships in traversing
and conquering the unknown territories
of a new world



Author of “Famous Scouts,” “Famous Indian Chiefs,”
“Famous Cavalry Leaders,” “Famous Frontiersmen,”
“Famous Privateersmen,” etc.



The Page Company
Boston  Publishers

Copyright, 1917
By The Page Company
All rights reserved

Made in U. S. A.

Fourth Impression, September, 1928
Fifth Impression, March, 1932

The Colonial Press Inc.,
Clinton, Mass.

                To the Great Brotherhood of the Clergy
             _who, with self-sacrifice, devotion, and lack
                          of personal profit,
                    have consecrated their lives to
              the education and development of the youths
                  of all English speaking countries_.


  _My Dear Boys_:

It has seemed fitting to include in the FAMOUS LEADERS SERIES this
volume upon the discoverers and explorers, not only of North America,
but also of Central and South America.

It has been impossible to include them all in a volume of this
character; but I have selected the most important, and have omitted
such men as Sebastian Cabot, Jacques Cartier, Sir Francis Drake,
Baffin, Verendrye, Robert Gray, Lewis and Clark, Pike, Franklin,
Frémont, and many others.

This is no new subject. The lives and histories of these discoverers
have been written by many another; but I have endeavored to bring
before you a series of pictures of some of the most noted of these men
of daring and grim determination, and, if I have succeeded in painting
the canvas with colors which are agreeable, then, my dear boys, I shall
feel that the moments occupied in the preparation of these pages have
been well spent.

  Believe me,
  Yours very affectionately,

  Chevy Chase, Maryland.
  August, 1917.


  _A voice came from the westward, it whispered a message clear,_
  _And the dripping fog banks parted as the clarion tones drew near;_
  _It spoke of shores untrodden, and it sang of mountains bold,_
  _Of shimmering sands in distant lands which were covered with
      glittering gold._
  _It sang of hemlock forests, where the moose roamed, and the bear,_
  _Where the eider bred near the cascade’s head, and the lucivee had his
  _It praised the rushing water falls, it told of the salmon red,_
  _Who swam in the spuming ripples by the rushing river’s head._
  _It chanted its praise of the languorous days which lay ’neath the
      shimmering sun,_
  _Of the birch canoe and the Indian, too, who trapped in the forests
  _Yea, it told of the bars of silver, and it whispered of emeralds
  _Of topaz, sapphire, and amethyst, which shone with a dazzling sheen._
  _Of warriors red with feathered head, of buffalo, puma, and deer,_
  _Of the coral strand in a palm-tree land, and of dizzying mountains
  _And the voice grew louder and louder, and it fell upon listening
  _Of the men who had heard strange music which was moistened with
      women’s tears._
  _Of the men who loved to wander, of the souls who cared to roam,_
  _Whose bed was the hemlock’s branches, who rejoiced in the forest’s
  _Leif the Lucky, Magellan, deLeon and Cortés bold,_
  _Cartier, Drake, and Franklin; Pizarro and Baffin, old;_
  _Shackleton, Hudson, Roosevelt; brave Peary and gay Champlain,_
  _Frémont, Lewis, Balboa; Verendrye, and the Cabots twain;_
  _’Twas the voice that called them onward, ’twas the voice that is
      calling still,_




  PREFACE                      vii

  THE VOICE                     ix

  LEIF ERICSON                   1


  AMERIGO VESPUCCI              43

  JUAN PONCE DE LEON            61


  HERNANDO CORTÉS              107

  FERDINAND MAGELLAN           185

  GIOVANNI VERRAZANO           203

  FRANCISCO PIZARRO            217

  HERNANDO DE SOTO             249

  SAMUEL DE CHAMPLAIN          271

  HENRY HUDSON                 303


  FATHER MARQUETTE             361

  ROBERT DE LA SALLE           383

  ROBERT EDWIN PEARY           409

  EPILOGUE                     427

                       LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


  Amerigo Vespucci (_See page 45_)                     _Frontispiece_

  Leif Ericson                                                      8

  The Landing of Columbus                                          28

  Amerigo Vespucci off the coast of Venezuela                      48

  Juan Ponce de Leon at the Fountain of Youth                      80

  Balboa taking possession of the Pacific Ocean in the name
      of the King of Spain                                         97

  Capture by Cortés of the City of Mexico                         178

  The Death of Magellan                                           200

  Giovanni Verrazano                                              208

  Execution of the Inca of Peru                                   245

  De Soto in the Florida Wilderness                               256

  Champlain in the Indian Battle                                  285

  Henry Hudson in New York Harbor                                 317

  Marquette and Joliet discovering the Mississippi River          369

  La Salle at the mouth of the Mississippi River                  397

  Robert Edwin Peary                                              413



  “_From Greenland’s icy mountains; from Iceland’s rocky shore,_
  _We sailed the ship which forged ahead and ruddy oarsmen bore;_
  _We found the wild grape growing; we scoured the river’s bed,_
  _And chased the moose whose horns were broad, whose blood was rich and
  _Our axes felled the wild-wood, our spears the Skraelings slew,_
  _We sank their round skin-barges as the cutting North Winds blew,_
  _Over the wild waves rolling, back to the fiords of home,_
  _We safely came to anchor,—but we’ll never cease to roam._”

  Saga of the Vikings, 1000 A. D.




ON the shore of a great fiord, or estuary of the sea, in the
far northern country of Greenland, stood a little boy. He was
sturdy-limbed, blue-eyed, flaxen-haired, and he was looking out across
the water at a great high-prowed Viking ship which lay bobbing upon the

He stood there thinking,—thinking, until, as he gazed enraptured upon
the scene before him, a tall, bearded Norwegian came up behind him. He
smiled upon the little boy, and, laying his hand upon his head, said:

“Little one, what are you dreaming about?”

The youthful Norwegian looked around and also smiled.

“Good Lothair,” he answered, “I am thinking of the time when I shall be
able to sail far to the westward, with the older Vikings, and can have
adventures of mine own.”

The other laughed.

“Ah, ha, that time will not be far distant,” said he, benignly. “You
will wax tough and sinewy in this bracing air and by sailing in these
blue fiords. And then, some day, one of the Vikings will want a stout
fellow to man an oar. He will call upon Leif, little Leif. And I’ll
warrant that little Leif will then be ready.”

“I will be.”

“And would you go far to the westward, to the land of the setting sun?”

“Even so.”

“And would you be willing to risk life and limb amidst ice and snow?”

“I’d be glad to do it.”

Lothair laughed loud and long.

“You are a true Viking, my boy. You are, indeed, one of those whom Thor
has smiled upon and whom the Valkyrias would love to assist in battle.
Keep up your spirit, and, some day, you may be famous,—who knows?”

So saying he walked away, still laughing softly to himself.

And the little boy still kept on thinking, thinking, and looking out
upon the great, blue sea which seemed to beckon to him, to nod to him,
and to sigh: “Come on! Come on! I have marvelous things to reveal to
you, little boy.”

The youthful Viking turned around, went back to his home, and kept on
working and sailing, and fishing, and playing, until a time came when
he had waxed great in both strength and in stature, and, as he looked
at himself in the polished surface of his shield he said: “Ah! Now,
indeed, I am a true Viking. I am ready for great things.”

This little boy was the son of Eric the Red, a strong man, and a bad
man, also. Eric’s father lived in Iceland, whither he had been forced
to fly from Norway, for he had killed a man there and he would himself
have been killed, had he not jumped into a boat, rowed to a Viking
ship, and sailed to the westward. And Eric the Red seems to have
inherited the traits of his father, for he, too, killed another. He
had lent some of his furniture to a neighbor who would not restore it.
Eric, therefore, carried off his goods and the other pursued him. They
met, and hot words passed; so they had a struggle and Eric killed the
fellow. He was thus made an outlaw, so he went sailing away to find
some place where he could live in peace, far from his brother Vikings.
He found a land, where he settled,—and called it Greenland, for, said
he, “other Vikings will come here and settle, also, if I give this
place a good name.”

Eric the Red, had two children, of whom one was called Thorstein, and
the other, Leif. The first developed into a thin youth with black hair
and a sallow complexion, but the second was rosy-cheeked, fair-haired,
blue-eyed, and sturdy-limbed. He was, in fact, the little boy to whom
Lothair spoke as he stood upon the banks of the fiord, gazing far into
the distance, determined, some day, to sail towards the West where he
was certain that adventure and treasure, too, perhaps, were waiting for

One of the men who accompanied Eric, the murderer, to Greenland was
named Herjulf. This bold and daring adventurer had a son named Bjarni,
who roved the seas over, in search of adventure, for many, many years.
Finally, in 986, he came home to Iceland in order to drink the Yuletide
ale with his father. Finding that his parent had gone away, he weighed
anchor and started after him to Greenland, but he encountered foggy
weather, and thus sailed for many days by guess work, without seeing
either the sun or the stars. When, at length, he sighted land, it was a
shore without mountains. He saw, through the misty murk, only a small
height covered with dense woods. So, without stopping in order to make
explorations, he turned his prow to the north and kept on. He knew that
this was not Greenland, and, so we may think it strange that he did not
stop to examine the rugged coastline.

The sky was now fair and a brisk breeze was astern, so, after scudding
along for nine or ten days, Bjarni saw the icy crags of Greenland
looming up before him, and, after some further searching, found his way
to his father’s house. He had more than once sighted a heavily timbered
shore-line, to the west, while steering for home, and, when he told of
it, great curiosity was excited amongst the Norsemen.

Little Leif had now grown to be a man of size and strength. He had made
many a journey to Norway, and, when there, in the year 998, found that
Roman missionary priests were preaching up and down the land, and had
converted the King, Olaf Tryggbesson, who had formerly worshiped the
Gods Thor and Odin. Leif, himself, became a Christian and was baptized,
so, when he returned to Greenland, he took several priests with him,
who converted many of the people. Old Eric the Red, however, preferred
to worship in the way of his fathers, and continued to believe in the
mystical Valhalla, or hall of departed spirits, where the dead Vikings
were supposed to drink huge cups of ale while feasting with their gods.

Upon a bright, warm day in the year 1000 A. D., a great Viking ship
lay calmly upon the waters of the bay before the town of Bratthalid in
Greenland, and on shore all was bustle and confusion. Leif Ericson,
in fact, had determined to sail far to the westward, even as he had
dreamed of doing when a little boy; and so, with thirty staunch
adventurers, he was preparing to load his ship with sufficient
provisions to last for the journey to that strange country of which
Bjarni had brought news. It took several weeks to gather provisions
and men, but at length everything was ready. The sail was hoisted, the
great oaken oars were dipped into the water, and the sharp bow of the
Viking ship was turned toward the open sea. “Huzzah! Huzzah!” shouted
the Norsemen. “Huzzah!”

The Viking ship, which had a huge dragon’s head at the prow, was such
a tiny affair, when compared with the massive ocean liners of to-day,
that one can well imagine how she must have been tossed about by the
great, surging waves; but she kept on and on, ever steering westward,
until a land was discovered which seemed to be filled with flat
stones, so they called it Helluland, or flat-stone land. This was the
Newfoundland of our maps, to-day.

Leaving this behind them, the Vikings kept on steering southward and
westward, until they saw a low-lying and heavily wooded shore. This was
Nova Scotia, and they coasted along it, for many days, occasionally
coming to anchor in one of the deep bays, and heaving overboard their
fishing lines, so as to catch some of the many fish which seemed to
abound in these waters.

They sailed on towards the south, and at last reached a place where a
beautiful river flowed through a sort of an inland lake into the sea.
Many islands were near the mouth of this stream, and, as salmon seemed
to abound in the waters of this blue and clear-flowing estuary of the
Atlantic, Leif decided that this was a good place in which to spend the
winter. So down went the anchor, the Viking ship was moored near the
shore, and the men scrambled to the beach in order to erect huts in
which to spend the cold season. Thus the dream of the little boy, as he
had stood upon the shore of Greenland, years before, had come true, and
Leif had reached a new world, to which he had been led by his daring
and his love of adventure.

You see, that, although it was long supposed that Columbus was the
first white man from Europe to ever set his foot upon the shore of
America, such is not the case.

The real discoverer of America, of whom we have any definite record,
was Bjarni, the son of Herjulf, who, in the midst of fog and murk,
coasted along the shore of Nova Scotia in 986 A. D.

[Illustration: LEIF ERICSON

(_From the statue at Boston, Mass._)]

And the first European to make a settlement upon the shores of the
new world was Leif Ericson, who sailed into that blue, salmon-filled
river which flows “through a lake into the sea.” So, if you look
along the coast of New England, and try to find a river which answers
this description, you will, I think, find but one. This is the river
Charles, which, emptying into the Charles River Basin—a huge lake, if
you wish—flows into the blue Atlantic. And, if you search the shore
upon the Cambridge side near the hospital, you will find, to-day, the
cellars of four houses,—the houses, no doubt, which Leif and his men
erected in the year 1000 A. D.

The Vikings built their huts, caught many salmon, and journeyed inland,
where they found a profusion of wild grapes, so many, in fact, that
they dried a great mass of them, loaded them into the hold, and called
this land Vinland, the Good. They also found a race of people living in
this country, who were ferocious in aspect, with ugly hair, big eyes,
and broad cheeks. They were clad in the skins of the beaver, the lynx
and the fox, and their weapons were bows and arrows, slings, and stone
hatchets. As they screeched dismally when about to attack in battle,
the Vikings called them Skraelings, or Screechers. It is apparent that
the Skraelings were more like the Esquimaux, than like the Indians
found by Columbus.

The Vikings spent a peaceful winter in Vinland and had no difficulty
with the Skraelings, who left them alone. The Norsemen felled a
great many trees and loaded their ship with lumber, with dried fish
and grapes. Spring at last came and the ice and snow melted in the
deep forests, the gray geese began to fly northward, and the robins
chanted a melodious welcome from the budding thickets. The followers
of Leif deserted their huts, clambered aboard their low-lying vessel,
and, singing a song of thanksgiving, turned her prow towards the blue
Atlantic. They coasted past the islands at the harbor-mouth, and,
driven by a stout breeze, were soon careening over the waves upon their
journey to Greenland.

But adventures were not entirely over, for, upon the way home, a dark
spot appeared upon the horizon, and, upon sailing up to it, Leif and
his seamen discovered a boat-load of sailors. These poor fellows had
been out in a large vessel, but she had foundered, and had gone to the
bottom in a squall. The castaways were rescued, were taken aboard the
home-going Viking ship, and were carried along to Bratthalid, where
Leif and his followers received a royal welcome, and great interest was
taken in the story of their adventures. Leif was christened Leif the
Lucky, and by that name he was to be known forever afterwards.

The daring navigator never again sailed to the pine-clad coast of
Vinland, but other Norsemen made the journey and some left their bones
to bleach upon the shores of New England. Thus in 1002, when Eric
the Red died, and Leif the Lucky succeeded to his Earldom, Thorstein
(Leif’s brother) decided to explore the new-found country. So, with
thirty or more men, he sailed to the westward, found the huts which
the first adventurers had erected, and had the pleasure of spending the
winter there. These voyagers stayed here for several years, for, in the
Spring of 1004, while some of the party were exploring, the ship was
driven ashore in a storm, near a ness, or cape. They put a new keel
into their damaged vessel and stuck the old one into the sand, calling
the place Kjalarness, or Keel Cape. The cape was undoubtedly near the
end of Cape Cod.

Thorstein was subsequently slain in a battle with the Skraelings, but
his men returned to Greenland, bringing lumber, dried fish, and many
tales of this wonderful country; so that other Vikings longed to go and
explore. Thus, in the summer of 1011, two ships set sail for Vinland,
one with Leif’s brother and sister, Thorwald and Freydis, and a crew
of thirty men; the other with two brothers, Helgi and Finnibogi, and a
crew of thirty-five. There were also a number of women.

Helgi and Finnibogi were the first to arrive at the huts which Leif had
constructed, and had taken possession of them, when Freydis, arriving
soon afterwards, ordered them to leave. Bad blood arose, and Freydis
one day complained that Helgi had given her evil words and had struck
her. She told Thorwald that he should avenge this insult, and taunted
him so mercilessly, that, unable to bear her jeering words any longer,
he was aroused to a deed of blood. Surrounded by his followers, he
made a night attack upon the huts of Helgi and Finnibogi, seized and
bound all the occupants, and killed them with cold steel. The peaceful
shores of the river Charles witnessed such a murder as has never
occurred again.

In 1012 the survivors sailed for Greenland in the vessel of the
murdered brothers, which was the larger of the two. The evil woman,
Freydis, who had caused all this trouble, pretended that the other
party had been left in Vinland, and that ships had merely been
exchanged. She threatened her men, that, if any told on her, they would
be murdered, but words were let fall which came to the ears of Leif the
Lucky. Three of those who had just returned were put to the torture,
until they told the whole story of murder and death in the peaceful
country of Vinland.

Leif was greatly affected by the news, but said with great show of
magnanimity: “I have no heart to punish my wicked sister Freydis as
she deserves. But this I do say to Freydis and Thorwald,—that their
posterity will never thrive.”

“And”—says an old Viking—“so it went that no one thought anything but
evil of them from that time on.”

This is the last that we hear of Leif the Lucky. That little
rosy-cheeked boy, who dreamed that one day he would be a great
adventurer, had accomplished his purpose. He had found a new country,
he had lived to see it explored by other Vikings, and he had opened the
eyes of Europeans to the fact that, far away there was a land which was
richer in furs and in timber than anything which they had about them.

The citizens of Boston, Massachusetts, have erected a bronze statue to
this navigator, upon Commonwealth Avenue; where, with hand shading
his keen eyes, the staunch Norwegian is going out upon the Charles
River;—that river, upon the banks of which in the year 1000 A. D.,
he and his followers spent a peaceful winter in the land of the
Skraelings, the beaver, the bear, and the pink-fleshed salmon. Skoal,
then, to Leif the Lucky! And remember that it was he, and not Columbus,
who first trod upon the shores of America as an adventurer from the
European world.


  ’Neath the scent of the green hemlock forests, near the sands of the
      storm-driven sea,
  Lies a land which is good, filled with balsamy wood, and a voice there
      is calling to me;
  There the grapes grow in reddening clusters, there the salmon jump
      clear of the falls,
  And in crystalline splendor, the moon, in November, shines bright, as
      the lynx caterwauls.
  From Moosehead the wild loon is screaming, from Rangely the trout
      jumps at play;
  And from Kathadyn’s bold peak, comes the osprey’s fierce shriek, while
      the brown bear creeps near to its prey.
  Oh! that is the land for the Vikings; yea, that is the kingdom of
  In the rude deer-skin boats, the warrior gloats, as the strangers
      press on to the West.
  There is thunder for Thor and for Odin; there is silver for Tyr and
  In Jotunheim’s palace, there is envy and malice; but nothing but love
      far away:
  Come, Vikings, hoist up your rude anchors! Come, seamen, row hard, as
      ye should!
  And steer to the West, where there’s peace and there’s rest; steer
      straightway to Vinland the Good.




  _Great man, whose courage led you o’er_
  _The ocean’s unknown length,_
  _A thousand voices thankfully_
  _Proclaim your power and strength._
  _The treasures of the tropic isles,_
  _You found, but failed to gain._
  _The honor that was due, was lost,_
  _You saw your subjects slain._
  _Your plans for empire sailed away,_
  _Undone by other wills;_
  _And left but glorious memories,_
  _Which every seaman thrills._




THE good and genial friar Juan Perez was working, one day, in front
of the convent of La Rabida, which had been dedicated to Santa Maria
de Rabida, near the pleasant city of Palos, in Spain. It was a lonely
place, built upon beetling cliffs which overhung the blue ocean. The
friar, with his brown cassock tucked up around his fat legs, was busily
engaged in hoeing some beans, when he saw a man standing at the little
wicket gate which was between himself and the roadway. The man was
thin, care-worn, and cadaverous-looking. His hair was quite gray and he
held a small boy by the hand.

“Kind priest,” said he, “I am faint with hunger.”

The good friar dropped his hoe and stood there smiling; for he had a
warm heart, and the little boy, whom the stranger held by the hand, was
very wistful.

“In God’s name, my poor fellow,” said Juan Perez, “come into the
convent with me, and I will give you all that you wish, for I see that
you are faint with hunger. And the little boy is surely very ill.”

So the white-haired man and the little boy went into the convent
of Santa Maria de Rabida, and there the priest fell into a long
conversation with this traveler. He found out that the wanderer was
named Christopher Columbus and that he had been born in Genoa, in
Italy. The little boy was his son, Ferdinand.

The priest was a man of great learning and had been confessor to the
Queen of Spain. He soon perceived that this Christopher Columbus was a
man of considerable learning, also, and found out that he had been a
sailor ever since he had been a boy of fourteen. Charmed and delighted
with the conversation of this penniless mariner, he asked him to remain
as a guest at the convent, for he saw that, within the lean body of
this white-haired sailor, burned a spirit of adventure which was like a
beacon light.

“Had I the money, the ships, and the men,” said Columbus, “I could
discover a new country lying far to the west. But, you see, I am a

“Yes,” replied the good priest. “But I have powerful friends who
have both money and ships. These will doubtless help you in your
contemplated voyage. Stay with me for a few days. I will call them
hither, so that you can discuss this matter with them.”

Columbus was glad to have this prelate listen to his schemes for
sailing far to the westward, for he had been endeavoring, for a long
time, to get some one to give him the necessary financial assistance,
so that he could fit out ships both with provisions and with men. In
a day or two a physician arrived. He was a learned fellow, and his
name was Garcia Fernandez. He was accompanied by a wealthy navigator,
called Martin Alonzo Pinzon, who listened to the schemes of Columbus
with great enthusiasm.

“I, myself, will lend you money for this voyage westward,” said he.
“And I will go in person upon this hazardous undertaking.”

The good priest, Juan Perez, had become most enthusiastic over the

“Wait until I write to our gracious Queen Isabella,” said he. “She, I
know, will aid you in your contemplated journey. Be of good cheer, for
she is the best of sovereigns, and cannot allow a Frenchman to have the
honor of any discoveries in the West.”

Christopher Columbus was quite willing to have this done, for he was
sure that, could he but gain access to the ear of the great Queen, she,
herself would see the righteousness of his cause and aid and abet in
that which filled him with zeal and enthusiasm. So he waited patiently
at the convent while a letter was dispatched to the kind-hearted
Isabella, carried to the court by one Sebastian Rodriguez, a pilot
of Lepe, and a man of considerable prominence. The Queen was at the
military camp of Santa Fé, where she was directing her troops against
the city of Granada, which was held by the Moors.

Fourteen days went by, and, at last, Rodriquez returned to the heights
of Palos.

“The Queen is much interested in your mariner friend, Columbus,” said
he to Juan Perez. “She wishes greatly to add to the glory of Spain, and
requests that you allow this sailor to travel to her military camp.
But first she wishes to talk with you, good priest.”

The friar was delighted. Quickly saddling his mule, he was soon
upon his way to Santa Fé, where he was received with kindness and
consideration. The Queen had a friend and companion called the
Marchioness Moya who urged her to give aid to Columbus and thus bring
much renown and glory both to herself and Spain. “This fellow has a
great idea,” she said. “Surely you will allow him, in the name of
Spain, to find out what lies far to the westward.”

Isabella was feeling particularly happy, just then, for her troops had
nearly captured the city of Granada and the hated Moors were about to
be driven from the soil of Spain. So she gave a great deal of money
to the priest from Palos, in order that Christopher Columbus could
buy a mule and sufficient clothing to appear at court. With smiles of
satisfaction the good friar returned to the convent at La Rabida and
the first link in the chain which led to the discovery of the West
Indies by those of white complexion, had been forged.

The time had come when the schemes of western exploration, which for
years had lain dormant in the breast of this penniless man from Genoa,
were about to be put into execution. Columbus was now light-hearted,
even merry, and, leaving his little son to the care of the good monks
of Palos, he mounted a mule and journeyed to Santa Fé, accompanied by
his friend Juan Perez.

It was a propitious moment. The Moorish leader had just handed over
the keys of the city of Granada to Queen Isabella, who, mounted
upon her horse and surrounded by a retinue of ladies-in-waiting and
courtiers, joyfully received the keys, as evidence that the Moors were
at last driven from the soil of Spain. Columbus soon was admitted to
her presence and there told of his desire to sail westward toward the
setting sun.

“But,” said he, “if this voyage is a success, I must be made Admiral
and Viceroy over the countries which I discover, and must also receive
one-tenth of the revenues which come from these lands, either from
trade or from agriculture.”

These terms did not suit the Queen’s counselors.

“It would be degrading to exalt an ordinary man to such high position,”
said Talavera, the Queen’s foremost advisor. “The demands of this
threadbare navigator are absurd.”

More moderate terms were offered to Columbus, but he declined them.

“Good-by, Your Majesty,” said he. “I will go to France, where the King
will perhaps give me more advantageous offerings than you care to

So the good man mounted his mule—the very one which the Queen had
presented him with—but he did not seem to mind using it, and, turning
his back on Santa Fé, and the convent of La Rabida, he started for the
Pyrenees Mountains in order to journey to France.

As soon as he had gone the Queen began to feel sorry that she had
allowed him to depart. Her friends gathered around her and had a good
deal to say.

“What an opportunity you are losing to enhance the glory of Spain,”
said several. “What a chance to make your own name forever great. If I
were you, I would call this navigator back to court before he arrives
upon the soil of France.”

Her husband, King Ferdinand, looked coldly upon the project, for his
treasury had been exhausted by the fighting with the Moors and he did
not wish to spend any more money, just then. But the Queen had many
jewels which she could pledge in order to raise money for ships and for

“Ferdinand,” said she to her husband, “if you do not care to undertake
this enterprise for the glory of the crown of Castile, I myself, will
do so, and I will give all of my jewels as security for a loan to the
navigator Columbus.”

A courier was sent post haste after the sailor from Genoa, who was then
ambling along upon his mule and was crossing the bridge of Pinos, some
six miles from Granada.

“The Queen has changed her mind towards you,” said the courier who had
been sent to find the poor navigator. “Come back! You will now have
funds with which to go upon your journey.”

Columbus hesitated a moment, for he feared that this was a lie, but,
convinced of the truth of the statement, he turned about and whipped up
his mule. They trotted along joyfully towards Santa Fé.

The Queen was now in a pleasant humor. Columbus was given all that he
had asked for, but he was required to bear one-eighth of the expense of
the journey. Papers to this effect were drawn up and signed on April
the seventeenth, 1492, and, a month later, the joyful navigator set
out for Palos in order to get ready the ships and provisions for the
long-hoped-for voyage of discovery.

By the terms of the agreement between himself and the King and Queen
he was to be called Viceroy and Governor of the new provinces which he
wished to conquer in the rich territories of Asia, the country which
he thought to be in the far west. He was to receive one-tenth of the
pearls, precious stones, gold, silver, spices, and merchandise of
whatever kind, which might be taken by his followers in the kingdoms
which he expected to take possession of. Good terms these! Let us see
how he fared!

Three caravels were now equipped for the journey at the port of Palos.
It was difficult to find sailors to man them with. All were frightened
at the enterprise and shuddered when they thought of a long sail into
the unknown West. But the King said that he would pardon all those
who had criminal charges hanging over them, should they join the
expedition. In this way a sufficient number of sailors were secured.

The three ships were called the _Gallega_, the _Pinta_, and the _Nina_.
The first was to be the flagship of Columbus, so he changed her name to
the _Santa Maria_, as he was of a religious turn of mind. The _Pinta_
was commanded by Martin Pinzon, and the _Nina_ by his two brothers,
Francis and Vincent.

On Friday, August 30th, 1492, the caravels headed out to sea and
started upon this voyage of discovery. One hundred and twenty sailors
had been secured, most of them with criminal records, so it was not to
be expected that the Admiral, as Columbus was now called, would have an
easy time with them. Some, in fact, were so anxious not to go that they
purposely unshipped the rudder of the _Pinta_, when only a day from
port, and the vessel had to be steered for the Canary Isles in order to
repair the damage. Finally, after a three weeks’ delay, during which
another rudder was made, the expedition again hoisted canvas and headed
for the blue horizon of the west. The hearts of the Spanish sailors now
failed them and many cried like little children, for they were fearful
of what lay before them; some, indeed, even thinking that they would
come to a great hole and fall in. As for Columbus, he tried to comfort
them with the prospect of gold and precious stones in India and Cathay
which he was sure that they would discover.

“On, on, my men,” said he. “On, and let us all be enriched by the
treasures which we will soon come upon!”

But the ignorant sailors were constantly anxious and distrustful.

The bellying sails carried the three caravels ever to the westward.
They sailed through vast masses of sea-weed on which small fish and
crabs were hanging, and the sailors feared that they would be stranded
upon this mass of vegetation. But when they threw lines into the
water these did not touch the bottom, so they knew that they could go
forward. The three vessels, in fact, were plowing through the Sargossa
Sea, eight hundred miles from the Canary Isles. This is a mass of
tangled sea-weed over two miles in depth, so it is no wonder that the
lines did not touch anything when they let them down.

Now birds began to fly around the caravels, such as gannets and

“Land must surely be near,” cried many. “We have now been six weeks
upon the water and Asia must certainly be before us.”

But, in spite of the birds and the floating sea-weed, the boats kept on
and on and still no land came to view.

Columbus, himself, never lost his confidence in the ultimate success of
the journey.

“My men,” said he, “land will eventually be sighted. You must bolster
up your hearts and have great courage, for we will soon view the coast
of Asia, where lives the mighty Khan.”

And, each evening, he made the sailors chant a hymn to the Virgin.
Cheered by the words of this heroic man, the Spaniards gained renewed
hope and eagerly scanned the horizon for some signs of palm trees or
tropic vegetation.

Before the expedition had set out, King Ferdinand had promised a reward
of 10,000 maravédis, or 400 pounds sterling ($2,000), to the sailor
who first discovered land. So, do you wonder that the mariners eagerly
scanned the blue distance for a dark line of earth!

As the ships drowsed along with a gentle easterly wind in their rear,
numerous large birds, petrels, man-of-war birds and damiers, flying in
couples, were a sign that land must certainly be near, for otherwise
how could these feathered sea-farers breed and lay their eggs? On, on,
the mariners drifted, the sailors eager, depressed, even mutinous, but
the courage of Columbus never wavered.

The month of October had now arrived and the Admiral announced to
his crews that the ships had traveled 1,272 miles to the westward.
In reality, they had sailed 2,100 miles; but Columbus hid the truth
from his followers, for he knew them to be on the point of mutiny,
and, should they learn how far they were from home, they would wish to
return. On October the seventh the crews were much excited by hearing
several musketry discharges from the _Nina_, the commander of which
thought that he had discovered land. But this was an illusion; what
he took to be land was but a patch of sea-weed, bobbing on the glassy

A number of parroquets went flying by in a southwesterly direction,
and, thinking that they were doubtless winging their way towards their
homes, the Admiral was requested to steer more towards the south. This
he did, and it is well that he so traveled, for, had the vessels kept
due westward, they would doubtless have run aground upon the great
Bahama Bank and would have been destroyed.

But why did not land appear?

Each evening the sun dipped down behind an interminable horizon of
water. Sea-weed floated past, birds flew around upon every side, and
still no land came to view. The Spaniards began to murmur loudly
against Columbus.

“He is a Genoese, a foreigner,” said some. “What does he care for
Spaniards! He has enticed us from our own country only to drown us all.
One thrust of a poniard and he will be out of the way forever!”

The Admiral heard of these remarks and knew that his sailors plotted
his destruction, but his spirit never faltered, and, as the men still
worked the ships, he kept courageously onward.

The eleventh of October had now come, and, as the bold navigator was
looking over the side of the _Santa Maria_, he noticed a reed, still
green, floating upon the top of a wave. His heart beat faster, for
he realized that land must certainly be in the offing. Almost at the
same time the men on board the _Nina_ perceived the branch of a thorny
tree, covered with blossoms, which bobbed upon the sprawling waves.
All rejoiced exceedingly, for they knew that the coast of some strange
country must be near. Night fell over the sea, and Columbus took up
his position on the foremost part of his vessel, where he could watch
until morning. About ten o’clock he thought that he saw a light in
the distance and called to a sailor, Pedro Guitierrez, a chamberlain
in the King’s service, who confirmed it. Once or twice, after this,
the Admiral again saw the light, which looked as if some person were
carrying a flambeau on shore, or in a boat, tossed by the waves.

Columbus spent a restless night. When morning broke, a sailor called
Rodrigo de Triana, saw land from the deck of the _Pinta_, and a thrill
of joy and thanksgiving ran through every heart. It was only two miles
away, and the vessels quickly headed towards the low-lying shore.
Every one eagerly crowded forward, with shouts and cries of joy, as the
three caravels drew nearer and nearer to the sandy beach. The vessels
anchored, and, crowding into the boats, Columbus, with his followers,
rowed towards the breaking combers. All were eager to set foot upon the
new-found territory.

Columbus had on a scarlet coat; and in one hand he held a cross, in
the other a sword. When he reached the beach he knelt upon one knee
and kissed the soil, while one of his followers held over his head the
royal banner of gold, embroidered with crowns and with an F and I, the
initials of Kind Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. He gave thanks to God;
while all his crew of malcontents joined him in singing the Te Deum.
His sailors gathered about him, embracing him with fervor, and begging
his forgiveness for their mutinous spirit.

At this moment some naked savages appeared from behind the tropic
foliage and came timidly towards the Spaniards. None of the men
appeared to be over thirty years of age, and the women, too, were
young. They were well made, their figures handsome, and their faces
agreeable. Their hair, as coarse as the tail of a horse, hung down in
front as far as their eyebrows, while behind it formed a long mass
which was apparently never cut.

As they approached, the Spaniards greeted them kindly, and, when the
voyageurs showed them their swords, the poor natives seized them in
their hands so that they cut their fingers.


The Spaniards roamed about for some time, glad indeed to stretch their
legs, and then jumped into their long boats, in order to go back to the
ships. Several of the natives plunged into the water and swam after
them, crying out with apparent pleasure. Next day they came in crowds
around the vessels, paddling themselves in enormous canoes shaped from
the trunks of trees and guided by means of broad paddles, like a snow
shovel. Several of the islanders wore little plates of gold hanging
from their nostrils, which interested the Spaniards more than anything
else. “Where did you get this?” they signaled to the chattering
Indians. The natives pointed towards the south, when they understood
what the mariners wished to know, and this made the voyageurs eager to
get away, for gold was ever that which has lured the Spaniard onward.

Columbus named the island San Salvador, and believed that he had
arrived upon the coast of Asia. The place was beautiful. Gray and
yellow parroquets chattered and screamed from the trees, and brilliant
tropic birds fluttered before them, as the Spaniards explored the
interior. A small lake was in the center of the island, but there
was no sign of gold or of gold mines. So the voyageurs turned away,
disgusted, and determined to sail southward where the natives told them
was a mighty monarch who possessed great vessels of gold, and immense

The next morning, at day-break, Columbus gave orders to have the ships
prepared for sea and all set sail towards the south, coasting along
the western side of the island, while the natives, running down to the
shore, offered the Spaniards water and cassava bread, made from the
root of a plant called the “yucca.” The Admiral landed upon the coast
at different points and carried off some of the natives, so that he
might exhibit them in Spain. Poor, ignorant islanders! Little did they
guess that soon the white-skinned strangers would tear them from their
country in order to sell them as slaves.

The Spaniards were really among the West Indies; but Columbus still had
the idea that he was near China, the home of the mighty Khan, stories
of whose wealth and possessions had already been brought to Spain. So,
after the three caravels had left the island of Cuba, two emissaries
were dispatched into the interior in order to take presents to the
Khan. They soon returned, telling of the peaceful natives, beautiful
groves of palm trees, but of no signs of the Asiatic potentate. They
reported that both the native men and women smoked tobacco by means
of a forked pipe, and that they had cotton houses made in the form of

The crews now began to grow restless. They had come to find Asia or
India, where were great hoards of gold. Instead of this they had found
merely some tropic islands, populated by a race of naked savages who
had no great treasures and knew nothing of gold mines. The Admiral
sailed onward and kept discovering other islands, in all of which he
found many articles of gold, but no particularly great city or town
with riches and treasure. And there were no signs of the mighty Khan of

While exploring the coast of an island called Hayti, a young chief
visited the caravels, attended by two hundred subjects. He spoke
little, but gave the Admiral a curious belt and two pieces of gold, for
which Columbus, in return, presented him with a piece of cloth, several
amber beads, colored shoes, and a flask of orange water. In the evening
the native was sent on shore with great ceremony and a salute was fired
in his honor, which both surprised and interested him.

A short time after this a still greater chief, named Guacanagari,
sent a messenger to the Admiral requesting him to come to his part of
the island. The ships were therefore turned in the direction of this
chief’s home, and had sailed within a mile of his residence, when the
_Santa Maria_ ran upon a sand bank and quickly went to pieces. When
news of this was brought to the native ruler, he sent his followers to
unload the vessel and guard the contents, and his family to cheer the
Spanish navigator and to assure him that everything which he possessed
was at his disposal. All of the Spaniards went on board the _Nina_ and
were later entertained by the prince. So well, indeed, did Columbus
like this island that he determined to erect a fort upon the coast,
and to leave there a certain number of men with a year’s provisions of
bread, wine, and seed, also the long boat of the _Santa Maria_.

As a matter of fact the Spaniards were now eager to return to Spain,
for, although they had discovered a new territory, they had not found
the great quantities of gold. As for the mighty Khan, he was certainly
not in the vicinity of these tropic isles, with their green paroquets
screaming from the waving branches of the palm trees, and their naked
savages with soft voices and hollowed canoes. The majority of the
seamen thought that they had done quite sufficient exploring and were
certainly ready to return to the bullfights and the crooked streets of
old Seville.

“Back to Spain,” they said to Columbus. “Back to Spain and let other
adventurers come here if they wish. We have found the way for them. Let
them explore and develop this territory.”

Columbus was quite ready to set sail across the Atlantic, for he had
found a new country for the Spanish Crown, and had added many square
miles of territory to the possessions of King Ferdinand and Queen
Isabella. It was now the month of January; the skies were blue and
the weather was balmy; so all seemed propitious for a safe and speedy
passage. Leaving thirty-nine men to garrison a fortress which he
ordered to be constructed, and to search for gold until he could come
back again from Spain, and naming one Rodrigo de Escovedo as their
commander, the Admiral boarded the _Nina_, and, after fighting a mimic
sham battle with his men, in order to amuse the Indians, he turned the
prow of the little vessel toward the rising sun. The _Pinta_, under the
command of Martin Pinzon, had been cruising to the south for some days;
but she now returned, with the news that, although the natives had told
of a great island to the south where there was much gold, none existed.
The sailors were much distressed in mind, for they had certainly
expected to find a quantity of gold and treasure in this tropic country.

It was now the seventh day of January and the boats lay to, in order
to stop a leak which had sprung in the hold of the _Nina_. Columbus
profited by the delay and explored a wide river which flowed from the
base of a high mountain, called Monti Christi by some of the crew. The
Admiral found the banks of this stream were full of gold-dust—so much,
in fact, that he named it the Golden River. In spite of this discovery
the Spanish sailors were still anxious to return and began to murmur
against the authority of Columbus. Thus, on the ninth day of January,
the two caravels set sail, and, steering towards the southeast, skirted
the coast, en route for Spain.

As they swung lazily along, the natives sometimes followed them in
their canoes. One day they began to shoot at the sailors with their
arrows, so that discharge of musketry had to be resorted to, in order
to drive them away. Two or three of the islanders were killed in this
little affair, and thus, for the first time, the blood of an Indian
flowed beneath the hand of a European.

Four of the natives were captured and taken on board so that they might
be exhibited in Spain. They went unwillingly, but, when they endeavored
to escape, were bound to the masts and were forced to join the Spanish
adventurers. So, cruel even in this first expedition to the new world,
just as they were ever afterwards, the Spanish navigators plowed
eastward towards the land of Ferdinand and Isabella. The passage proved
to be a quick one until the twelfth day of February, when the vessels
encountered a fearful storm lasting three days.

The little caravels with their three-cornered sails were slapped around
on the surging billows until all thought that they were lost, and the
sailors swore on bended knee that they would go and pray in their
shirts, and with naked feet, at the monastery of our Lady of Loretto,
if a Kindly Heaven would only put an end to this fearful raging of the
waters. Columbus seems to have given up all hope of ever reaching land,
for he wrote out a description of his voyages, placed it inside a cask,
and hurled it into the sea. This included a request that whoever should
find this document would forward it to the King of Spain.

Luck, however, was with him, and the storm at length abated to such a
degree that the two caravels cast anchor at the island of St. Mary,
one of the Azores. The crew went ashore, and were immediately thrown
into prison; but, after a period of five days, were allowed to leave by
their Portuguese jailors. Again the two caravels headed for Spain, but
again the winds blew vigorously, so that the _Pinta_ was driven into
the Bay of Biscay and the _Nina_ had to take refuge at the mouth of the
Tagus, in Portugal.

Here the Portuguese welcomed the Admiral in a kindly fashion, but he
was anxious to return to Spain, and, as soon as the weather would
permit, the _Nina_ again set sail. Finally, on the fifteenth day of
March, after seven months of navigation, she cast anchor at the port
of Palos, that little harbor from which the man with a great idea had
sailed with a half-hearted and distrusting crew.

Columbus had guessed correctly. A new land did lie far to the westward
across the blue Atlantic, and it was a land where was gold, that which
every Spaniard prized the most. The Genoese mariner had discovered the
islands of San Salvador, Conception, Great Exuma, Long Island, the
Mucaras, Cuba, and San Domingo.

The first man to give him a welcoming pat on the back was the good old
friar Juan Perez.

“You have done well, my good Columbus,” said he. “How glad I am that
I introduced you to the gracious Queen Isabella. You have indeed
fulfilled the dreams that you dreamed in the convent of La Rabida.”

Ferdinand and Isabella were then at Barcelona, and, hearing of the
safe return of Columbus, a message was immediately dispatched to ask
him to come at once to court. The Admiral landed, offered thanks to
God for preserving him in all his trials, and, taking with him the
Indian captives, started on his journey to the residence of his King.
From all parts of the country the Spanish people ran to look at him as
he passed. They threw their hats in their air, shouting: “Long live
Columbus! Long live the discoverer of new countries! All honor to the
Admiral!” He was preceded by a troop of cavalry and a band of music
when he entered Barcelona, and flowers were strewn in his pathway.

Ferdinand and Isabella received him with great pomp at the Deputation.
After hearing his story, told by him with graphic words, all knelt and
chanted the Te Deum. Christopher Columbus was then ennobled by letters
patent, and the King granted him a coat of arms bearing the device:
“To Castile and Leon, Columbus gives a New World.”

The fame of the poor navigator rang throughout all the then civilized
world; the Indians were baptized in the presence of the whole court;
and all tongues gave praise to this poor and unknown sailor who had
dreamed a dream of conquest which had come true.

Strength of purpose and strength of will had won the day. Had the
Genoese mariner given in to discouragement when his half-criminal
sailors grew mutinous and wished to return to Spain after they had
passed the Sargossa Sea, to some one else would have belonged the honor
of the discovery of the West Indies. Had he not used a firm hand in
dealing with them, they would have marooned him on one of the islands
which he discovered and would have left him there to die. Had he not
been sure that he would find what he was after, Queen Isabella would
not have aided him to glory and renown. Great and valiant Sailor, you
should indeed be remembered with reverence, for you knew how to triumph
over doubt and discouragement and your faith was sublime! All honor
then to Christopher Columbus!

       *       *       *       *       *

The remaining adventures of this gallant soul can be briefly narrated.
Upon a second voyage to the West Indies he found the men whom he had
left behind him had all been murdered by the Indians. After Columbus
had sailed to Spain the Spaniards had stolen some of the Indian women
and had consequently stirred up the wrath of the great chief who lived
in the interior of the island of Hayti, where they had been instructed
to build a fort and live until the return of their companions. A row
of graves under the swaying palm trees showed where once had been
thirty-nine adventurous souls from Palos in Spain.

The Spaniards came over in numbers after this expedition, but, although
they founded a city and attempted to settle in the new world, there
were continual dissensions with the natives; fights; ambuscades;
massacres. The men from Castile were lazy; greedy for gold; cruel to
the natives; and treated them brutally when the poor Indians could not
furnish them with the glittering metal which they so keenly desired.
Then the more rapacious ones turned on Columbus himself, threw him
in irons on one occasion, and continually derided him to the King of
Spain, who, because the Indies did not produce the revenues which he
had expected them to, turned coldly upon the mariner from Palos, and
rather took the part of these malcontents against him. Like all persons
who reach a certain pinnacle of greatness, Columbus could not remain a
popular idol, for all men are human and he had the ambitions of others
to contend with. There were fights with the natives; fights among the
Colonists themselves; fights with the malaria, the yellow fever, and
with other diseases.

Columbus himself fared badly. After the death of good Queen Isabella,
Ferdinand would not aid him in the least. He had saved no money, after
all these adventures, and, as his life drew to a close, had to live by
borrowing. He did not even own a home in Spain, and had to reside at
Inns and at boarding houses. Alone, neglected, miserable, poor, he
finally passed to another and better world, on May the twentieth 1500.
He was seventy years of age.

Buried in the convent of St. Francisco, at Valladolid, Spain, his body
was removed to the monastery of Las Cuevas at Seville, and, still
later, to the cathedral of San Domingo at Hispaniola. But again it was
taken up, and transported by vessel to Havana, Cuba, that rich tropic
isle which the great navigator himself had discovered. Here to-day it
is lying, and the sad spirit of this strange man of destiny hovers over
the richest of all the possessions which Spain held in the West Indies,
until wrested from her feeble grasp by the people of the United States
in the year 1898, and magnanimously presented to the Cuban people
themselves, to govern as they wished.

Could the poor old mariner, as he lay dying at Valladolid, have but
looked forward into the centuries and seen the New World which he had
discovered, he would have indeed been well satisfied. Had he known that
a great Exposition would have been held to his memory and fame, and
could he have guessed that the children of the civilized world would
ever afterwards be taught the history of his life, of his perseverance,
his courage, and his faith, he would indeed have been cheered in those
last cheerless and poverty-stricken days.

In the career of this poor Italian dreamer, studying in every moment of
leisure, asking assistance year after year from crowned heads until he
was fifty-six years of age, in order that he might make his immortal
discoveries, is a lesson to all who feel that their lives have not
been perhaps worth while as they near middle age. The lesson is:—keep
on trying to win, and, even though you may not be appreciated during
your lifetime, history will always give you a proper niche in the
temple of fame. And do not believe that youth is the only time for
adventurous discoveries. Columbus did not sail upon his epoch-making
journey towards the West until after he had reached his fifty-sixth
year. Middle age and perseverance, then, are good aids to place one
within the halls of the immortals.


  O brother, good brother, look out on the bay,
  What’s that that is nearing, so long and so gray?
  ’Tis a palm tree, I’ll warrant, so large and so lean,
  That it o’ershadows all palm trees that e’er I have seen.

  O brother, good brother, it stops and is still;
  White clouds are above it, they beckon and fill;
  Two sticks running upward are covered with vines,
  And a humming resounds like the wind when it whines.

  O brother, good brother, a puff of white smoke
  Rolls upward and onward—a voice surely spoke,
  ’Tis the speech of God Tezcal, he’s calling aloud,
  For the rest of the Gods to gather and crowd.

  O brother, good brother, what’s that to the rear?
  A canoe is approaching, it fills me with fear,
  For the white gods are paddling; they dress all in red,
  And the skin of their hands looks like that of the dead.

  O brother, good brother, bend low and keep still.
  See the God in the bow, he is white-haired and ill.
  Let us hide in the palms, ere they step on the shore,
  Let us watch in the grass ’til this danger is o’er.

  They jump to the beach, raise a cross-stick on high,
  They speak a strange tongue and utter a cry.
  O brother, good brother, what’s that shines and gleams?
  On their breasts, on their backs,—it glitters and beams.

  Let us talk with these strangers, let us speak with these men,
  There are hundreds of brothers behind in the glen,
  They surely can’t harm us, they come from the sky,
  And they smile as they see us. Then let us draw nigh.

         *       *       *       *       *

  O brother, good brother, had I never been near,
  These pale-visaged Gods who from Spain traveled here,
  I’d be in the forest, not bound to the mast,
  As the _Nina_ rolls on and the shore flyeth past.

  Good-bye, tropic islands! Good-bye, Salvador!
  _My spirit is crushed; my free life is o’er._
  _Farewell, beloved palm trees! Farewell and adieu!_
  _My home is behind me and fades from my view._







ABOUT the beginning of the thirteenth century a family called Vespucci
established themselves in the City of Florence, Italy. Anastatio
Vespucci was the head of the family in 1451 and lived in a stately
mansion, now occupied as a hospital for the poor, near the gate of the
city known as Porta del Prato. He was Secretary of the Senate, and,
although he lived in a palatial dwelling, had little besides the salary
attached to his high office. Upon March the ninth, 1451, the third
son of this official was born, and, when three days of age, was duly
christened Amerigo. He has since been called Americus.

Almost from his cradle the boy was destined to become a merchant.
Yet he had a good schooling, too, and was educated at a private
institution presided over by his father’s brother, a monk of the
Order of San Marco, who, before the birth of Americus, had become
famous as a teacher of the noble youths of the city. Here the boy was
taught mathematics, astronomy, geography, and the classics. He became
especially interested in geography and was ambitious to excel as a

Amerigo, or Americus, seems to have remained a student under the
direction of his uncle for a number of years, yet we have no record of
when it was that he followed the wishes of his father and entered upon
mercantile pursuits. At any rate, he never lost his early interest in
geography. In spite of his days in a counting house, he eagerly studied
maps and charts. He made a collection of them, and, for one map alone,
paid a sum equivalent to five hundred and fifty-five dollars.

Americus had an elder brother, Geralamo, who had left home to seek his
fortune in foreign climes and had established himself in business in
Asia Minor. He became immensely wealthy, and all went well with him,
until one day, while he was at church, thieves broke into his house
and robbed him of all that he possessed. This greatly impoverished the
family, so that Americus determined to leave Florence and journey to
some other country where he could retrieve his brother’s losses. He
selected Spain as the scene of his future labors.

Just as Magellan deserted Portugal for Spain, so, also, Americus felt
that here were fame and fortune awaiting him. Ferdinand and Isabella
were then waging war upon the Moors who held the southern part of the
peninsula, and, as this was regarded as a holy war, many of the young
nobles from surrounding countries were in Spain fighting for the crown
of Castile. The war created a demand for many articles of commerce, so
Americus went to Spain as the agent for one of the Medici, a ruling
family in Florence. At the beginning of the year 1492, when Columbus
made his first journey of exploration to the West Indies, we find
the young Italian associated with one Berardi, who, after the return
of Columbus from his first voyage, was commissioned to furnish and
equip four vessels to be sent to the New World at different intervals.
Vespucci met Columbus, had lengthy conversations with him regarding the
New World, and, from his letters, we can see that he had a very clear
idea that Cuba was not the main land, as Columbus supposed it to be,
but was an island.

Berardi died in December, 1495, and the management of all his affairs
devolved upon the shoulders of Vespucci, who soon wearied of seeking
the favors of fortune and determined to abandon mercantile life for
something, “laudable and stable.” He formed, in fact, a determination
to visit the various parts of the world, a determination which he soon
put into execution.

A navigator, called Ojeda, was about to set sail for the West Indies
with four vessels and we find that Americus became one of his crew.
According to some, he was to be one of the principal pilots; according
to others he was to be an agent of the King and Queen, having a voice
in the direction of the ships. On May 10th., 1497, the fleet left
Cadiz, and, after reaching the Canary Islands, sailed so rapidly that,
at the end of twenty-seven days, it came in sight of land. This was the
coast of South America.

The Spaniards anchored and attempted to hold some intercourse with the
natives, but the Indians were very shy and refused to come out to visit
them. So, coasting along the shore, they came upon a village, which,
much to their surprise, was built after the fashion of the city of
Venice, Italy. The houses were placed upon piers in the water, and had
entrances by means of drawbridges, so that the inhabitants, by leaving
the bridges down, could traverse the whole town without difficulty. The
explorers therefore called it Venezuela, a name which has endured to
the present day.

The inhabitants, at first, shut themselves up in their houses and
raised the drawbridges, and, as the ships came nearer, the savages
embarked in their canoes and rowed out to sea. The Spaniards made every
mark of friendship and invited the Indians to come to their ships, but
the brown-skinned natives hastened away, making signs for the Spaniards
to wait where they were, as they would return. They came back, bringing
with them sixteen young girls, who beckoned to them and made signals of
peace. The Castilians were much impressed by this; so much so, in fact,
that their suspicions were not aroused by the sight of numerous natives
who came swimming towards the ships. Suddenly they noticed that some of
the women at the doors of the huts were wailing and tearing their hair,
as if in great distress.

While wondering what this meant, suddenly all the girls sprang from
their canoes, and the Spaniards saw that many men—who had been
heretofore hidden by them—were armed with a bow and arrows. Each
native in the water had a lance in his or her hand. Hardly had the
white men perceived this before they were furiously attacked.


The Spaniards vigorously defended themselves with their muskets and
then made a dash for the canoes in their long boats. They overturned
several, killed about twenty of the South Americans, and took two of
the girls and three men prisoners. Many of the natives were wounded.
The Spaniards did not burn the town, but returned to their ships, where
they placed the three men, whom they had captured, in irons. Then they
sailed southward, but, when morning dawned, discovered that the natives
had managed to wiggle out of their irons and had jumped overboard.

Keeping their course continually along the coast, the explorers came
to anchor about eighty miles from this new-world Venice, where they
saw about four thousand persons gathered upon the shore. These set up
a wild yelping, when the Spaniards let down their boats, and fled into
the forest. The white men followed and found a camp where two natives
were engaged in cooking iguanas, an animal which the early discoverers
describe as a serpent. The two cooks fled, of course, but the whites
disturbed nothing in the camp, in order to reassure the natives, and
then leisurely returned to their boats.

Upon the following day these Indians paddled to the ships, and when
they saw the two girl prisoners whom the Spaniards had taken, they
became suddenly very friendly, for these girls belonged to a tribe with
which they were then at war.

“We have only come here for the fishing,” said one of them, a chief.
“We live far back in the country and wish you to journey to see us as
our friends.”

The invitation was received with great satisfaction by the whites.

“They importuned us so much,” says Vespucci in his narrative of these
events, published some years afterwards, “that, having taken counsel,
twenty-three of us Christians concluded to go with them, well prepared,
and with firm resolution to die manfully, if such was to be our fate.”

So, the Spaniards journeyed inland, remained three days at the fishing
camp, and then set out for the interior, where they visited so many
villages that they were nine days on the journey, and their comrades on
board the vessels grew very uneasy about them. The Indians, in fact,
showed them great attention, and when they were about to return to the
ships, insisted upon carrying them along in hammocks, slung upon the
shoulders of strong and willing porters. When the explorers arrived at
the shore, their boats were almost swamped by the numbers of savages
who wished to accompany them, while swarms of natives who could not
get into the boats, swam alongside to the ships. So many came aboard,
that the mariners were quite troubled, fearing that they might make a
sudden and unexpected attack. A cannon was fired off to impress the
natives with the power of the explorers. At the explosion of the piece,
many leaped into the sea, like frogs plunging into a marsh. Those who
remained seemed to be unafraid and took leave of the mariners with many
demonstrations of affection.

The Spaniards had now been thirteen months at sea, so their thoughts
turned towards home. It was therefore decided to careen their vessels
on the beach, in order to calk and pitch them anew, as they leaked
badly, and then they would return to Spain. The Castilians made a
breastwork of their boats and their casks, and placed their artillery
so that it would play upon any enemies who might advance; then, having
unloaded and lightened their ships, they hauled them on land to make
much needed repairs.

No attack was made by the natives. Instead of this the South Americans
brought them food, begging them to assist them in punishing a very
cruel tribe of people who came to their country, every year, from the
sea, and killed many of their warriors. They afterwards would eat
them. Against these enemies they said that they were unable to defend
themselves. When the Spaniards promised to march against the cannibals,
no words could express their gratitude. Many wished to go with them,
but the whites wisely rejected such offers, permitting only seven to
accompany them.

The Spaniards sailed in a northeasterly direction for seven days, and
then came upon some islands, many of which were peopled. They cast
anchor before one of them and lowered the boats; but, as they did so,
they saw about four hundred men and women gather on the beach; the men
armed with bows, arrows, and lances, their naked bodies painted with
various colors. As the Castilians approached to within bowshot of the
shore, the savages sent a flight of arrows at them in an effort to
prevent them from landing.

The cannon were therefore loaded and fired. As some of the Indians
fell dead, the rest retreated. The Castilians, with a cheer, hastily
landed and fell upon the savages, who put up a stiff fight. The battle
raged for about two hours without a decisive victory upon either side;
some of the Indians were killed and some of the whites were injured.
At last, tired out, the explorers were glad enough to return to their

Next day the Spaniards landed again, and, under the leadership of
Vespucci, had a bloody battle with the cannibals. The natives were at
length badly worsted, were driven to their village, and this was burned
to the ground. Only one of the explorers was killed, while twenty-two
were wounded. Many of the Indians were burned in the ruins of their
thatched huts.

Well satisfied with the outcome of this affair, the mariners now
set sail for Spain, with the plaudits of the savages, whom they had
assisted, ringing in their ears. They arrived in October, 1498, after
an absence of about nineteen months, and were well received by the King
and Queen, for they brought considerable gold, jewels, and skins of
strange beasts and birds. Vespucci was highly pleased; he had been the
first to visit the shore of South America and had really done something
great in exploration,—his dream for many years.

Shortly after his return, a second expedition was prepared for a
journey to this new-found country, headed by one Ojeda, a Spaniard of
some wealth and influence. A fleet of four vessels was equipped, and
the latter part of the Spring of 1499 saw them ready for sea. The
reputation of Vespucci as a geographer was such as to make him the
very man needed for this particular voyage, and, although at first
disinclined to leave home at so early a date, he finally yielded to the
entreaties of Ojeda, and joined the party.

They set sail from Cadiz in May, 1499, and twenty-four days later saw
land. The shore was low and so densely covered with small aromatic
trees that the explorers concluded to return to their ships and try
some other spot. After coasting along in a southerly direction they
came to the mouth of a great river, and, having manned their boats with
twenty well-armed adventurers, entered the stream and ascended it for
more than fifty miles. But the land was as low, up-stream, as it was at
the mouth, so the reconnoitering party floated down-stream to the fleet
again. Anchors were raised, the ships stood out to sea, and, sailing in
a southerly direction, encountered the great equatorial current which
sweeps along the coast of Brazil.

“We could scarcely make any headway against it,” says Amerigo, in his
description of this journey published some years later. “Seeing that
we made no progress, or but very little, and also seeing the danger
to which we were exposed, we determined to turn our prows to the

Ten degrees north of the equator, the explorers again saw land, and,
drawing nearer, found that this was an island. Many of the inhabitants
were gathered upon the shore; but, when the pale-faced strangers
landed, they took fright and ran into the woods. Fortunately two were
captured and acted as envoys, so, after a time, the rest allowed the
Spaniards to approach and speak with them. They were cannibals, eating
the bodies of all those whom they killed or captured in war, and had
the heads and bones of those who had been eaten piled up in a big heap.
Much disgusted at what they had seen, the Spaniards sailed away.

Drowsing along the coast of this island they came to another village
of the same tribe, where they were hospitably received and were fed by
the brown-skinned inhabitants. But they moved onward, sailed westward,
and soon anchored near one of the mouths of the Orinoco River, where
was a large village close to the sea, the inhabitants of which regaled
the mariners with three different kinds of wine, and presented them
with eleven large pearls, more than a hundred smaller ones, and a small
quantity of gold. Here the navigators remained seventeen days, feasting
upon fruits and the savory acorns with which the place abounded.
Then they continued along the coast, stopping occasionally to hold
intercourse with the natives.

These, for the most part, were unfriendly, and the Spaniards had many a
battle with the South Americans.

Vespucci says: “Many times not more than sixteen of us fought with
two thousand of them, and, in the end defeated them, killing many
and robbing their houses. We were obliged to fight with a great many
people, but we always had the victory.”

Thus they progressed upon their way, fighting, trading, exploring,
until their stock of provisions became so nearly exhausted that it
was impossible for them to proceed further. Their ships, too, were
sea-worn and leaky, so that the pumps could scarcely keep them free
from water.

Other Spanish adventurers had founded a city called Hispaniola, not
long before this, situated upon the eastern coast of Panama. The Ojeda
expedition was now about three hundred and sixty miles from the point,
but it was decided to sail thither in order to repair the ships and
secure food, such as Europeans were accustomed to. After a voyage of
several weeks, the Spanish caravels anchored in the harbor of the city
founded by their countrymen, where they remained for two months.

Refreshed by their stay at Hispaniola, the Spaniards now cruised for
some time among the numberless small islands north of Hayti, but the
provisions which they had secured soon began to give out; they were
reduced to six ounces of bread and three small measures of water a
day for each man; and the ships began to leak again, in spite of all
the caulking which had been done at Hispaniola. The leaders of the
expedition, therefore, decided to capture some slaves for the purpose
of selling to wealthy grandees in Spain, and to return home.

This harsh resolution was well carried out. Two hundred and thirty-two
unfortunate natives were torn from their island home and their
pleasant, indolent life, and were taken on board the ships. It was a
dastardly thing to do, but men in these times were like the German
invaders of Belgium in ours,—they were brutes. The prows of the four
caravels were now turned towards Spain, and, after an uneventful
voyage, they arrived at their place of departure, June 8th., 1500,
after an absence of about thirteen months. Of the fifty-seven men who
had set out upon the expedition, two had been killed by the Indians,
the rest returned home. Thirty-two of the slaves died upon the journey
across the Atlantic, the rest were sold to the Spanish grandees.

Amerigo wrote freely of the journey to South America and his letters
had a wide circulation, for he was the first newspaper correspondent:
the forerunner of the modern Richard Harding Davis-es and Frank G.
Carpenters. By means of these epistles he gained a wide celebrity and
his name became more closely connected with the New World than that of
Columbus. Such being the case, it is no wonder that people began to
call these new possessions after the man who wrote so graphically of
what he had seen there. Amerigo Vespucci told of a land which came to
be known as the land of Americus, or America. It should really have
been called Columbia, after Christopher Columbus, but Columbus did not
happen to have the facility for writing interesting letters.

Amerigo, greatly pleased with what he had accomplished, was resting
quietly at Seville, when an invitation came from the King of Portugal
to have him visit him, and, when he arrived at Lisbon, the King had
much to say to him.

“Would he undertake another expedition to the new world under the
Portuguese banner?” Yes, he would.

No sooner said than done. On May 13th, 1501, Vespucci left on another
journey with three armed caravels. They ran south, touched at the
Canary Islands, and then, through fierce and violent tempests, plowed
towards the coast of South America. This they reached at length, and,
coasting southward, frequently landed on the shore, where they had
intercourse with the natives, most of whom were cannibals.

Here the Spaniards remained for several months, then, having found
no minerals of value in the country, although there was a great
abundance of valuable woods of every kind, they decided to return
to Portugal. All the vessels were stocked with food and with water
for six months, their prows were turned eastward, and, bidding the
cannibals of South America a fond adieu, the explorers headed for home.
After a stormy passage, and, after a voyage of fifteen months, the
adventurous navigators again sailed into the harbor of Lisbon, where
they were received with much joy. Florence received the accounts of the
discoveries of her illustrious son with much pride, and honors were
bestowed upon those members of his family who lived in the city of the

Amerigo Vespucci was now a popular idol. He had been the discoverer of
the method of obtaining longitude at sea, by observing the conjunction
of the moon with one of the planets, and his observations and
enumeration of the stars in the southern heavens were of great value
to mariners who came after him. He was far in advance of most other
learned men of the age in his knowledge of the sciences of astronomy
and geometry.

Believing that Amerigo would have reached India by way of the
southwest, had not his last voyage been interrupted by the severe
storm which he had encountered, the King of Portugal lost no time in
fitting out another expedition. Six vessels were therefore prepared,
Amerigo being placed in command of one of them, and recognized as the
scientific authority of the squadron. The fleet set sail again for that
country of which all Europe was talking and speculating.

This expedition was similar to those which preceded it. The vessels met
with severe storms; saw cannibals, brightly plumaged birds, and islands
of palm groves and chattering parrots. The Spaniards built a fortress
upon one of the many harbors which they entered; then, as all but one
ship had been lost by shipwreck, the vessel which Vespucci commanded
sailed back to Lisbon, arriving on June 18th., 1504. He was received as
one risen from the dead, for the whole city had given him up for lost.

Thus ended the last voyage of the famous Florentine. Perhaps
disheartened by the unfortunate result of his cruise, he abandoned
the idea of again going to sea, and devoted himself to writing an
account of what he had already accomplished. Although younger by four
years than Columbus, when the great Admiral had set sail upon his
first voyage to the unknown West, Amerigo decided to rest upon laurels
already won, and to never again tempt fame and fortune in an expedition
to the shores of South America. He spent his declining years in writing
a full and graphic account of his many expeditions to the New World,
and, on February the twenty-second, 1512, the spirit of the astronomer
and geographer passed to a better sphere.

For many years after its discovery there seems to have been no effort
to give a name to the New World; indeed, it was so long supposed to
be a part of Asia that this was thought to be unnecessary. In a Latin
book, printed at Strassburg, Germany, in 1509—the work of an Italian
called Ilacomilo—it was suggested that the country be called America,
as it was discovered by Amerigo (Americus).

Not in the lifetime of the great Vespucci was this name so used. As
late as the year 1550, North America was called Terra Florida on the
Spanish maps, while Brazil was the name given to the coast of South
America, where much dye-wood was obtained; the title coming from the
Portuguese word _braza_, meaning live coal, or glowing fire. Both the
names of America and Brazil were applied to the shore of South America,
until, after a while, the second of these names was confined to that
part of the coast where the valuable dye-wood was obtained, while the
other name was attached to the part north and south of it. From this it
was but a short step to speaking of all of the great southern peninsula
as America, and gradually this name was given to the entire western

Somewhere in Spain or Italy, Amerigo Vespucci sleeps in an unknown
grave, but his epitaph is the name of a double continent: rich,
populous, teeming with all things valuable.

Of noble thought, splendid mind, and facile pen, the memory of the
great Florentine geographer should be revered and respected for all




  _The tropic breeze fanned a fairy tale, a tale of the sheltering
  _Where the grimy sea cow sunned herself, in the bay where the
      ground-swell calms._
  _It sang a song of a fountain clear in the depth of the tropic glade,_
  _Where the bubbles sparkle clear and cool, o’er the rocks of brown and
  _It spoke of the waters healing, which to bathe in meant joyous
  _To the gray-haired and decrepit, with wrinkles and hollowed tooth._
  _And the breeze came to the ears of men, who believed it to be no
  _So the agéd De Leon chimeras chased, in the land where he was to




ONCE there lived in the island of Porto Rico, which became the property
of the United States in 1898, a Spanish Knight who had fought against
the Moors in Spain and who had helped to drive them from his native
country. His name was Juan Ponce de Leon, and he was rich in slaves, in
plantations, and in money.

The good knight was growing old. As he gazed in his mirror he saw that
his once coal-black beard was now silvered with gray, that his head was
not only bald, but also grizzled, and, as for his joints, well, he had
strange rheumatic pains when he bent over, and he did not leap out of
bed in the morning with the same spirit of enthusiasm that he had had
twenty years before.

It is no wonder that this wrinkled soldier gave eager ear to the
remarks of a native chieftain, Atamara, who one day said to the
gray-haired veteran:

“I see, good sir, that you are nearing a time when you will have to
bid farewell to all your earthly possessions, which will, I know, be
far from pleasing to you. If you sail to the westward, you will find a
fountain whose waters will restore the full vigor of youth. No matter
how old you may be, should you but drink of this marvelous spring, you
will be again twenty years of age. Your aches and pains will disappear,
and you will enjoy life even as you did when a stripling.”

Ponce de Leon pricked up his ears at this, and eagerly questioned the
chief concerning the direction which the fountain lay from the Isle of
Porto Rico.

“It lies towards the northwest,” said the Indian. “Here a man and a
woman, called Idona and Nomi, who had grown old together, came down
to drink. Filling a pearly shell which lay near the water, first Nomi
handed it to Idona, saying:

“‘Drink, my love, that I may know thou wilt not part from me forever,
for I have heard from the wind that this is a magic fountain where the
water has the power of returning one’s youth.’

“Idona drank, then turned and filled the cup for his mate. A marvel now
came to pass. There stood Nomi, beautiful as in her youth; garlanded,
too, with flowers as when Idona had first seen her, and facing her was
her lover in all the glory of his young manhood.

“And, because these two had been so faithful to their pledges and had
borne the pains of life so bravely together, the Spirit of the Earth
led them to her own home, where they dwelt happily ever afterwards.

“But once in twelve moons they come to the fountain to drink together
of its waters.

“This is the legend of the water,” concluded Atamara, “as it has been
known amongst us from a time so far away that our wise men cannot
measure it.”

Nowadays no one would give credence to such a legend, but those days
were different from the present. For had not hundreds of Spaniards
believed in the El Dorado, or gilded man, and had not they followed De
Soto in order to view him? So the Knight of Spain asked many questions
of Atamara concerning his knowledge of the land where was the Fountain
of Youth, and he learned enough to satisfy himself that many unexplored
islands and seas lay to the northward, which were only waiting for the
eyes of some venturesome Castilian. He still had an iron constitution,
built up by sound habits, military training, and temperate living; and
he felt that he was not yet too old to use his good sword to carve
out a greater dominion in new territories. On the other hand, he had
reached the downward turn of life so that this tale of the Fountain of
Youth appealed to him the more he pondered upon it; and he determined
to go and seek for this mysterious water, even as De Soto had sought
for the Gilded Man.

The King of Spain was quite ready to grant this knight permission to
discover, explore, and colonize the fabled land of which De Leon now
wrote him, and sent him a letter which ran as follows:

 “To the Knight Don Juan Ponce de Leon. Inasmuch as you, Juan Ponce de
 Leon, have sent and asked permission to go and discover the Island of
 Biminin, in accordance with certain conditions herein stated, and in
 order to confer on you this favor:

 “We grant you that you may discover, explore, and colonize the said
 island, provided that it be not heretofore discovered and under the
 conditions herein stated, to wit:

 “First, that you, Juan Ponce de Leon, take with you such ships as you
 require for the discovery of the said island, and for the carrying
 out of such projects. We grant you a period of three years, dating
 from the day which you receive this document, with the understanding
 that you are to set out on this voyage of discovery the first year,
 also during your outward course you are privileged to touch at such
 islands, or mainlands in the ocean, as yet undiscovered, provided they
 do not belong to the King of Portugal, our much beloved son. Nor can
 you take anything whatever save such articles as are required for your
 sustenance, and the equipment of your ships, paying for them according
 to value received.

 “Moreover, to you, Ponce de Leon, in finding and discovering said
 island, we accord the Governorship, also the administration of
 justice, during your lifetime, and, to insure the privilege, we will
 make your authority extend to the civil and criminal jurisdiction,
 including every and all issues, and rights annexed.

 “I order that the Indians be distributed among the people who make the
 first discoveries, as they should receive the most advantages.

 “Dated at Burgos, January 22nd., 1512.


 “Signed by the Bishop of Valencia.”

De Leon overhauled his caravels, accumulated stores of arms,
provisions, gifts, and trinkets of various kinds that would be suited
to the tastes of the Indians whom he should find in these lands which
he might discover, and arranged his home affairs. He had three caravels
in all, and three hundred sailors and soldiers. Besides these, were
several priests, for whose accommodation a chapel was built upon the
after deck of the _Dolores_, the largest vessel. All things were now
ready, and, bidding his good wife, the Dona Dolores, farewell, the
Spanish adventurer turned the prow of his flagship towards the west,
and sailed through azure seas, whose very fish were rainbow tinted, in
quest of the Fountain of Youth.

The air was balmy, scented with the sweet odors of fruits and flowers,
and fragrant with the spices of mango trees. The vessels drifted onward
from one fairy-like islet to another, at all of which they made a brief
stay, searching for that marvelous fountain of which the Indian had

Brown-skinned natives came from the forests, bearing gifts of precious
stones, of fruit, and of beauteous flowers, for which they refused
any recompense. White beaches glistened in the tropic sunlight as if
their sands were polished grains of silver, and, as the caravels luffed
under the lee of some of these palm-studded isles, the sailors saw
quiet coves, shining like polished mirrors, into which crystal streams
gurgled with murmurs almost human.

The Castilians were charmed with the beautiful scenery, and many said:
“Surely in this land of peace and beauty there must be a Fountain of
perpetual Youth.”

So they kept onward towards the north, ever looking for the marvellous
water which was to turn their grizzled leader into a youth again.

The sailors gazed at the many birds which fluttered in the palms and
sometimes hovered near their ships. There were white egrets, or herons,
parroquets with green and yellow plumage, pink curlews, and flamingos
with scarlet feathers and long curved bills. There were great sea
turtles splashing in the shallows with huge, flabby feet, and gray
sharks which whirled about amidst the foam in eager search for their

Everywhere the natives were friendly, and, when asked if they knew
aught of the Fountain of Youth, would shake their heads. Vainly the
Spaniards drank of all the springs and the rivulets in these tropic
isles, for none seemed to possess the wonderful healing properties for
which they longed. The brown-skinned islanders knew little of Atamara’s
legend of the fountain, but they spoke of a great land lying far
beyond, where perhaps the wondrous water might be spouting. It was a
fine country, said they, called by the musical name of Florida.

One moonlight evening, as De Leon sat upon the high deck of his
caravel, when his vessels threaded a channel between two shadowy
islands upon the port and the starboard, suddenly, far, far in front
of him he beheld a brownish gray strip of country. It was an hour when
revery would take the form of dreams, and, fearing that the vision of
coast and headland, gulf, bays, palm trees and ports-of-refuge might be
some delusive vision of the brain, he turned to his companion, Perez de
Esequera, saying:

“Is it true that I view the shadowy sea-coast of some undiscovered
land? I see great bays, indentations, and projections. I believe, good
Perez, that we are nearing a shore from which many Spains, nay, all
of Europe might be carved and scarcely missed. Pray that the saints
shall guide us to the land of Bimini and to that wondrous fountain of
perpetual youth!”

“Indeed, good Knight,” replied his companion. “I, also, see this
vision. It may be a mirage, but I feel that soon we shall find this
country of which the natives tell. Let us be optimistic!”

Next day the vessels were headed towards the north, and, with a stiff
breeze filling the bellying canvas, made progress onward. During the
night, the sailors of De Leon’s caravel heard the distant booming
of breakers, and awakened their leader. The good knight called to
his sailing-master to make soundings, which showed that they were in
shallow water. So the anchors were let go, the sails were furled, and
the vessels lay waiting for the coming of the day.

Dawn reddened in the east, and, far to the north and south of the
anchorage, stretched a multitude of sand dunes. The surging billows of
the Atlantic threw white wisps of spray upon a long yellowish beach,
beyond which was a background of dark green forests. From the masthead
a sailor called out that he saw a winding river, coursing through
grassy marshes, which grew broad and green-gray as it reached the
ocean. It was Palm Sunday, March the 27th., 1512, so the Castilians
sang the Te Deum and, with ringing cheers, gave voice to their pleasure
in finding the fabled land of Florida.

When the vessels neared the beach, next day, the adventurers saw that
there was little here but a succession of sand hills. So the Spaniards
coasted along by the booming surf and at length reached a sheltered
bay which they called the Bay of the Holy Cross. Many native canoes
were seen disappearing into narrow creeks among the marshes, so it was
apparent that the Indians had no desire to become acquainted with these
strange mariners in the queer-shaped caravels. The ships anchored and
that night De Leon called his captains and lieutenants on board his
flag ship for counsel. It was decided that on the morning a landing
should be made, in force, and that formal possession should be taken of
this soil in the name of King Ferdinand of Spain.

The next morning was the second of April, a time when the foliage of
Florida is at its best. As day crept on, boats were lowered along
the sloping sides of the little caravels, which rapidly filled with
armored men upon whose greaves and breastplates the sunlight flashed
and gleamed with silvery reflections in the green-black water. Waving
plumes and crimson scarfs tossed in the morning breeze, while high
above all gleamed the golden cross borne by the Chaplain, good Father
Antonio. The commander had decreed that all should appear in the best
of armor and equipment so that the honor due the King of Spain by his
followers should be ample and sufficient.

The tide being full, the boats landed high up on the shore, Ponce De
Leon leading the way, and being the first to step upon the soil which
would thenceforth be his by decree of his Sovereign. Halting, the
cavalier waited for Father Antonio with his cross, before which, on
bended knee, he gave thanks to God for his great mercy in bringing him
safely to this goodly land.

Now all disembarked, and, while trumpets sounded and drums beat, formed
a procession headed by the priests, the cross, and Ponce de Leon with
his banner. Marching to the roll of drum and the blare of bugle, the
cavalcade went some distance up the beach to a spot where the priests
had erected the chapel altar, decorated with sacred emblems and votive
offerings. This was in the square of an Indian village. The golden
cross was placed in a position facing the morning sun and the soldiers
knelt in a semi-circle around it, as service was held to commemorate
this auspicious event.

Save for the deep booming of the sea, and the song of a mocking bird,
there was silence. The Indians peered at the strange sight from behind
trees and bushes in the neighboring forest, and, perceiving that the
fair-skinned strangers were engaged in some ceremony or proceedings,
they looked upon the crouching Spaniards with expressions of awe.

The mass was soon ended, and Ponce de Leon took formal possession of
the country in the name of his sovereign, proclaiming himself, by
virtue of the royal authority, Adelantodo of the Land of Florida. Then
a fanfare of trumpets rent the air, mingled with the cheers of the

A small stone pillar was now set up, which had been brought from Porto
Rico for that purpose, and upon which was carved a cross, the royal
arms, and an inscription reciting the discovery of Florida and its
possession by the Crown of Spain.

Although De Leon felt that he was really the first Spaniard to find
this country, such was really not the case, for the outline of the
peninsula is plainly drawn in an old map published in the year 1502.
To this discovery little attention seems to have been paid at the
time, for it was a period when explorers were most anxious to find
gold and pearls and there was nothing to fix particular attention to
this new coast. Thus Ponce de Leon’s vaunted first vision was really a
rediscovery of what an earlier and equally valiant Castilian had seen.

The Spaniards, who had landed, it seems, not far from the site of St.
Augustine, found, when they attempted to search for the Fountain of
Perpetual Youth, that the natives did not have quite as good an opinion
of their mission as they could wish.

After they had sailed from the Bay of the Holy Cross the wise men
of the Indian village concluded that the stone pillar represented
something inimical to their own rights of possession, so they had
it taken to the deepest part of the bay and there thrown overboard.
Previous to this they had vigorously protested against the invasion of
their peaceful country. Yet no blows had been struck.

The caravels headed down the coast with fair wind behind them and, not
far from the southern point of the island, which formed the seaward
barrier of the Bay of the Holy Cross, they saw a curious spot upon the
surface of the sea where the water boiled like a caldron, or as if some
mighty fountain flowed upward from a hole in the bed of the ocean. This
is a natural well in the Atlantic, quite similar to those on land, and
can still be seen by sailors off the Florida coast. There were great
schools of fish nearby, and many were captured in nets as the vessels
drifted slowly upon their course.

The voyagers coasted along the low-lying shore, admiring the view, and
finally saw a canoe approaching in which was a handsome youth, the
messenger from a native chieftain Sannatowah. He bore a missive to the
effect that, if the strangers came in peace, he was ready to meet them
in the same spirit, also; but if they came not with such intent, it
would be best for them to remain on board their floating houses, for
there were as many warriors in the land as there were palm trees in the

“How shall it be known whether we come in peace or in war?” asked Ponce
de Leon.

“By this,” answered the herald, touching the bow which was slung over
his shoulder, “if it be war. Or this,” laying his hand upon a green
branch thrust in his girdle, “if it be peace. There are eagle eyes
watching on yonder shore, and, whichever I hold up, the message goes
straight to Sannatowah!”

“And if I let you make no sign nor go back, what then?”

“War!” was the answer.

A smile came to the serious countenance of the Spanish seeker for the
Fountain of Youth as he said:

“I pray thee, then, young sea eagle, go to the prow of my ship and hold
up the green bough of peace. I pledge you my sacred word that there
shall be peace between thy people and mine as long as it is in my power
to have it so. Tell me if there be any answer from the shore and if all
is well. Tarry with us, so as to be our herald to your cacique.”

As he ceased speaking, the youthful Indian went forward, and, standing
upon the bowsprit, waved his green branch first towards the south, next
to the north, and then towards the sky. This over, he came back to the
after deck, saying:

“All is well. Sannatowah and his people will greet you as friends and
as guests.”

The Spaniards soon went ashore, greeted the Indian chieftain, and were
told by him that, two days’ easy journey to the westward, lay several
great springs and a mighty river, the beginning and end of which was
unknown to him. One of these springs, said he, was in the territory
of a tribe with which they were now at war; but, when he was a youth,
there had been peace, and he had often visited it. This spring was
deemed to be sacred. It was a great fountain which welled up from the
depths of the earth and was apparently bottomless. Its waters were as
clear as azure, so that one could see far into the pearly depths.

“I drank not of it,” he continued, “for the wise men of the tribe said
that it was forbidden by the Great Spirit, except to one of the tribe
in whose land it was. The fountain is in the country of Tegesta.”

Ponce de Leon tarried quietly in the bay for several days; but finally
landed his men, in order to travel to the place where lay this wondrous
fountain. He had ten horses on the caravels and one mule. These were
lowered overboard and swam ashore, which occasioned much surprise and
astonishment among the natives, who viewed these strange animals with
both fear and distrust.

When Father Antonio’s long-eared mule climbed from the ocean and struck
the solid earth with his hoofs (the first of his kind to come to
Florida) and then opened his mouth for one long, piercing bray, all the
natives took to the woods in impulsive flight. It was some time before
they dared to return.

Sannatowah was eager to befriend De Leon, and sent him guides to pilot
him to the place where lay the great river and the crystal spring; and,
although usually averse to such labor, a number of redskins went along
as porters, agreeing of their own free will to go at least as far as
their own boundaries. Everything was soon ready, the trumpets blared
out their clarion notes of warning, and the march began.

Through forests of great oaks, magnolias and palm trees which hung with
streamers of long, gray moss and matted vines, the Spaniards wended
their way, startling many a shy deer from the leafy coverts and once
or twice a great brown bear, which lumbered away, snorting with fear.
Mocking birds trilled at them from leafy branches, and squirrels
chattered and scolded from fallen tree trunks.

Carrying his helmet at his saddle-bow, so that he might feel the
refreshing breeze, De Leon rode at the head of the little column of
horse and foot until they came to a place in the forest where a great
tree lay prostrate over the trail.

“This,” said the native guides, “is the border of our lands. Beyond
is Tegesta. We can go no farther, for, while the flower of peace[1]
blooms, there is a truce between ourselves and those who live beyond.”

So the Spaniards made camp, but next morning they pressed onward into
the wilderness, and, passing around a great cypress swamp, suddenly
came upon an Indian village named Colooza, near a large lake. They
were met with a shower of arrows, but, clapping spurs to their horses,
soon drove the redskins behind a rude stockade which surrounded their
thatched huts.

De Leon flung himself from his horse, and, regardless of the arrows
which were singing around him and were glancing from his steel
breastplate, he led a charge upon the gate, with a wild cry of “St.
Iago and at them!” With his battle-ax he swept an entrance to the
palisade, and then, dashing in, followed by his men, the village
was soon cleared of all but five of the native Floridians. These,
apparently awed by the invulnerability of their opponents, gave in and
surrendered. They were compelled to go along with the Spaniards as

Passing through a country of well-tilled fields and gardens, where were
picturesque clusters of native houses, the discoverers came to the
waters of a great lake which was so wide that the woods were scarcely
distinguishable upon the opposite shore. This was Lake Munroe, a broad
expanse of the St. Johns River, which enters it at one end and flows
from it at the other. De Leon here halted, sending the captured natives
onward to find the chief of this country, telling them to assure him
that the white men were peacefully inclined and were in search of the
fabled and mystical Fountain of Perpetual Youth, which they had heard
was in the territory over which he held dominion.

At nightfall, one of these native runners appeared at the camp, bearing
the reply of the great chief Olatheta, which was that he was delighted
to learn that the strangers did not wish to war with him and requested
that their leader should meet him at the council house upon the
following day.

Ponce de Leon was overjoyed. Now he was nearing his goal, for he
believed that the Fountain of Perpetual Youth lay only a few leagues
before him. Eagerly he awaited the morrow, and, at the time set for the
advance, heralds came from Olatheta to conduct the Spaniards to their

The Castilians soon came upon a great collection of dwellings, many of
which were quite large, and before the largest of all was the chieftain
with his principal men. As they entered the town, the signal was given
for the trumpeters to blow and the drums to beat. This caused great
fear among the natives so that many ran away; but, seeing that there
were no signs of hostility on the part of the strangers, they resumed
their wonted attitude of stoical reserve.

“Pray, why have you come to this country?” asked Olatheta. “Are you
peaceful, or are you warlike?”

Ponce de Leon bowed.

“I am the servant of a Great King beyond the water,” said he, “and he
has given me the Governorship of these islands. So I have brought with
me a holy man to teach you the true religion, and, as I have heard that
you have here the Fountain of Perpetual Youth, I would like to visit it
and to drink of its wonderous waters.”

Olatheta smiled, as he answered:

“There is a great fountain near at hand, which we all reverence and
hold sacred. Yet, because my people have transgressed the proper laws
of our tribe, the Great Spirit has taken much of its virtue from it.
If, however, you wish to visit it, I will willingly accompany you. This
holy man of yours may induce the great God to restore its power, which
will be such a great blessing to my people that they will all rejoice
at your coming, instead of being angry with you, as many are now,
because of your attack upon Colooza.”

“Let us journey to this spring immediately,” said De Leon with
enthusiasm. “Good chieftain, lead on!”

Olatheta arose, and, beckoning to the Spaniards to attend him, walked
rapidly away. The Castilians followed, surrounded by a vast multitude
of natives, who crowded around them in wonder and curiosity. As they
wound through the thickets, Father Antonio’s mule startled every one
with a series of the most ear-piercing brays, which caused an instant
panic among the Indians, coupled with loud laugher from the soldiers.

“By the Saint of San Sebastian,” cried a Sergeant, called Bartola,
“were that mule mine and were this indeed the fountain whereof we are
in search, I should see to it that he drank not a drop of its waters.”

“Why so?” asked a smiling comrade.

“Why? A pretty question truly. Because there would be no place for any
sound on earth, if the waters would have such virtue to increase vigor
as they are said to have. All would have to fly before the thunderous
braying of yonder ass.”

The cavalcade passed onward, and, nearing a grove of stately trees,
the eager Spaniards saw a fountain such as they had never seen before
in any other land. There was a brim as round as a huge cup, and inside
were waters as clear as crystal, which boiled up from depths lost in
inky shadows, and ran over the edge into a little water course, which
gushed and bubbled towards the lake.

“Hurrah!” cried the eager De Leon. “It must indeed be the Fountain of
Youth! Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!”

The day was a beautiful one. Bright birds darted from the waving
branches, the sun shone brilliantly upon the armor of the Spanish
adventurers, as, with the horsemen in advance, clad with plumed
helmets, silver shields, upon which were emblazoned red lions, and
with sword and battle-axe clanking against their armored legs, the
Spaniards neared the gushing waters of the fountain.

In front of all was the good Father Antonio, who, holding with one hand
the bridle-rein of his dun-brown mule, raised the other in blessing.
The Indians crowded around him, awed by the sonorous Latin, and, as
he finished his benediction, Olatheta stepped forward and filled an
earthen cup, which he had brought, with water dipped from the fountain.
Turning about he handed it to Ponce de Leon.

Smiling, and with a trembling hand, the good knight raised the cup to
his lips. The cool liquid gurgled down his bronzed and weather-beaten
throat. Yet—oh! sad and distressing to relate! No part of his grizzled
exterior changed to the freshness of youth.

As he was raising this goblet to his lips, his companions rushed
tumultuously to the fountain and buried their heated faces in the clear
and sparkling water. They drank deeply, and in silence awaited the
beginning of miracles, each with eager eyes fixed upon his neighbor.

Again, alas! The miracles came not. Beards of grizzly gray remained the
same. Wrinkles did not disappear, and stiffened joints still moved with
the same lack of spring as of yore. Alack and aday!! The fountain had
lost its charm and was not the fabled water of perpetual youth.

The silence was broken by the solemn voice of Father Antonio:


“God’s will be done!” cried he. “Blessed be His holy name!”

In sorrow and with downcast faces, the Spaniards turned about, and
wearily, dejectedly, mournfully, wended their way back to the camp of
the friendly Olatheta.

       *       *       *       *       *

The good Knight Ponce de Leon traveled through much of this beautiful
land of Florida, fought many a stiff fight with the native inhabitants,
and finally sailed back to the isle of Porto Rico, bearing marvelous
tales of this land of promise, but no water which would restore the
agèd to youth and beauty. He journeyed to Spain, was received right
graciously by the King, and came back to his island home, expecting to
remain there in peaceful pursuits, until his demise.

Yet, still hoping to find that mystical and fabled fountain, he finally
fitted out two caravels, and, with a larger force than had followed his
banner in the first expedition, resolved to again explore the western
coast of beautiful Florida.

This journey was to be his undoing. At every point naked savages fought
desperately against his mailed warriors. In one of these encounters he
was attempting to rescue one of his comrades, when he was hit by an
arrow in the thigh. The barb penetrated the protecting armor to the
bone. He was rescued by his faithful followers and was carried to his
ship, weak and fainting from the loss of blood. It is said by some,
that, although the arrow was withdrawn, a part of the arrow-head,
which was of flint, did not come wholly away.

Suffering and delirious, the brave old navigator was borne to the
harbor of Matanzas in Cuba, where was a settlement which he, himself,
had founded. His adventurous companions lifted the pallet upon which he
lay on the upper deck, where the cooling breezes might alleviate his
fever, lowered it into a boat, and, when the shore was reached, carried
him tenderly into an unfinished house, which he was having constructed.
They brought his suit of mail, his banner, and his sword, placing
them around him so that he might feel at home. Delirium now seized
the care-worn explorer, and thus he lay for days, as, in fancy he saw
himself a boy again, climbing the bold rocks of the Sierras after young
eagles, contending in the courtyard with his brothers, or chasing the
brown deer in the leafy forests.

Then the camp and battle scenes passed before his eager vision; voyages
over vast seas among beauteous islands; expeditions through palms and
moss-grown mimosas; journeying to the villages of brown-skinned natives.

One night, peace came to the old warrior, and there was weeping and
sorrow among his staunch and battle-scarred companions.

They carried the body of the good knight to the Isle of Porto Rico,
where they first gave him a sepulchre within the castle, but eventually
his ashes were deposited beneath the high altar of the Dominican church
in San Juan de Puerto Rico, where they rested for more than three
hundred years.

When the American forces invaded the country in 1898, and took it away
from the rule of Castile, his remains were placed beneath a monument,
upon which was carved the trite but appropriate saying:

“This narrow grave contains the remains of a man who was a lion by
name, and much more so by nature.”




  _A sob and a moan from the ocean; a voice from the swaying palm,_
  _As a parroquet, brilliant with spangles, chatters and clatters
  _For a man stands gazing seaward, a man who is pale and worn,_
  _With a lean hand shading his forehead, a doublet faded and torn._
  _“I take you, O brilliant waters, for the King and Queen of Castile_
  _And I name you the Southern Ocean, Ye must know how joyous I feel._
  _For, from lands that are distant and foreign, I sailed to view and
  _And what I have seen is o’erpowering; what I behold, I adore.”_
  _And the parroquet chattered and scolded, and the waters lay calm and
  _As Balboa, who found the Pacific, gazed and dreamed through the day._




IT is something to be a discoverer of anything. It must give the one
who has that happy fate a great thrill of satisfaction. He should know
that his name will go down to history as a man of particular eminence.
Yet, do you think that any of these early Spanish voyagers held that
thought? I doubt whether either De Soto, or Balboa, ever had any
extraordinary feeling of elation when they had feasted their eyes upon
the two great sheets of water, which, as far as we know, they were
the first white men to set eyes upon; the first, the Mississippi; the
second, the vast Pacific Ocean.

Once I thought that I had discovered a wide plateau upon the summit of
the Rockies. I knew that I was in an unexplored region which had never
been mapped, and, as I scrambled to a high eminence to look down upon
the headwater of a curving stream, I turned to my companion, exclaiming:

“This is magnificent! We are turning our eyes upon a scene of verdant
beauty upon which no one but the wild Cheyenne, or roving Blackfoot
warrior has ever gazed before! I feel thrilled! I feel awed! I feel in
the same way that Columbus must have felt, when—”

“He saw that tomato can lying down there in that sage bush,”
interrupted my companion, dryly, and sure enough—some accursed white
man had been there before me! It was a drop from the sublime to the

But Vasco Nuñez de Balboa, when he stood upon the shores of the
Pacific, was aware that he was the first Spaniard to set eyes upon this
particular sheet of water, because he had learned from the Indians that
such an ocean existed, and, so far, no explorer had yet come to Spain
who had brought word of it. The accounts of the scene say that he was
thrilled and awed by the vision which came to him, and that, realizing,
when approaching the water, that he was about to view an ocean which
no other European had ever seen, he left his party behind him, so that
no one else should share his honor. This shows a selfishness which is
quite characteristic of these early Spanish adventurers and discoverers.

Balboa was not only selfish, but he was also daring. He was likewise a
fellow of considerable humor, as the following incident will illustrate.

The adventurer and explorer was tall, red-headed and athletic. He had
come from a good family in Spain, and, when a young man, had emigrated
to the New World, where he had settled as a farmer in Hispaniola.
Here he was soon overwhelmed with debt, as he was loose and prodigal
in his habits. His creditors pressed him severely and it came to be
quite a problem with him how to escape these persons who were hounding
his trail. But he was clever, and eluded their watchfulness by having
himself hauled in a cask from his farm to a vessel, which was about
to set sail. As this barrel was supposed to contain provisions, he
was soon safely out to sea. The contents of that cask were the most
animated that the sailors had ever seen, and, when the stowaway gained
the deck, shouting: “Good morning, Señors, I am going to be one of you
henceforth,” the Spanish stevedores nearly fainted from surprise.

In those days the Spaniards were continually making new settlements
near the Isthmus of Panama, and the venturesome Balboa had fallen in
with a body of adventurers who settled at Darien, a native village
upon the east coast of the Isthmus and near a great bay. There were
many natives at this town when the Castilians arrived, but, although
they put up a sharp fight in order to protect their village and their
possessions, they were routed by the navigators, who seized their
village, with a large quantity of food and cotton, and also a great
mass of gold ornaments, worth fifty thousand dollars. This place seemed
to be healthy and fertile, so, from this time forth, it became the
headquarters of the Spaniards in the New World.

As has seemed to be perpetually the case in Spanish America, when
these settlers were not fighting Indians, they were fighting among
themselves. There were two Governors in the country, at this period,
who had the sweet-sounding names of Encisco and Nicuesa, and, as is
customary with Spanish-American potentates, they were soon at daggers’
points with one another.

Balboa carefully stirred up the resentment between them, hoping that
there would come a revolution, after which he would step into the
Governorship, himself. Encisco declared that he had control over
the town and citizens of Darien, but Balboa contented that Darien
was situated in the territory assigned to Nicuesa and that Encisco
had no authority there, whatsoever. Stirred by the speeches of this
cask-traveler, the Spanish adventurers refused obedience to the pompous

Some one, at this moment, sent to Nombre de Dios, another settlement
on the coast, and advised Nicuesa to come down to Darien in order to
act as Governor. Balboa stirred up a revolution against him, while
he was on his way, declaring that his reputation was that of a harsh
administrator, that he ruled in a very high-handed fashion, and that he
would be a worse ruler than Encisco.

The hot Spanish blood began to boil in the inhabitants of Darien, and
had soon boiled to such a pitch that, when Nicuesa sailed into the
harbor, he was greeted by an angry rabble who yelled at him derisively,
refused to receive him as governor, and, when he attempted to march
into the city, attacked him with swords and drove him into the woods.

To the credit of Balboa be it said that he now interceded for the poor
fellow, so that no actual harm was done him, and, since he refused to
return to Nombre de Dios, he was presented with the worst vessel in the
harbor and the most unseaworthy, in which to return to Spain. This he
did with a few faithful followers, and was never heard of again in the
New World.

Now see how the crafty Vasco Nuñez de Balboa profited by this little
revolution, for, having deposed one of the governors, and having sent
away the other, the irascible inhabitants of the country chose Balboa
and a man named Lamudio to rule them as magistrates.

Encisco was, of course, furious at this and shortly sailed to Spain in
order to plead his own cause before the King; but Balboa was not to be
caught napping. He dispatched his friend, Lamudio, along at the same
time in order to offset the pleas of the angry Encisco, and, to further
aid and abet his own cause, secretly loaded him with a sound sum of
gold with which to ease the palm of the royal treasurer in old Madrid.
He was crafty, as you can well appreciate.

What do you think of this fellow now? From being a mere stowaway, and
an outcast who was hunted by his creditors and head over heels in debt,
this adventurous Spaniard, at one bound had risen to be a governor and
commander of troops. And in this new rôle he showed marked ability,
for he not only led his men well against the native chiefs, but also
managed to gain the confidence of these wild inhabitants of the
Isthmus, so that, one after another, they became his friends and his

Balboa kept up his expeditions into the unknown interior and more
than once was told that a vast ocean lay beyond the mountains which
jutted up from the table-land of the central portion of this strip of
country between North and South America. Several natives spoke of a
gray, glittering body of water, quite different from the Atlantic. The
Indians said that “it was far away,” so, as Balboa anticipated a long
journey to see and make certain of the native tales, he determined to
ask assistance from the King of Spain. In spite of the fact that he was
really a rebel and was ruling over a colony of revolutionists, we find
that he actually did send a letter to Ferdinand, asking for a thousand
men to be dispatched to him, so that he might undertake the discovery
of this fabled ocean. He was careful to send along some gold, for
nothing spoke more loudly with the Spanish sovereign than this.

The ambitious Balboa waited patiently for a reply from far distant
Spain; but, before it came, he received a very disquieting epistle from
Lamudio, his faithful friend whom he had dispatched to court to plead
his cause. Alas! Ferdinand had heard the complaint of the outraged
Encisco and had given judgment in his favor against the upstart and
revolutionist, Nuñez de Balboa. Worse yet! The adventurous Governor of
Darien was to be summoned to Spain in order that he might answer to the
King for his treatment of Nicuesa.

Balboa heard this with regret, also with some anger. He was clever
enough to see that only one course could save him, and that was to act
promptly, and at once; to find this ocean, and to travel to Spain with
the news of this discovery, first hand. He knew King Ferdinand well
enough to believe that, if successful in this venture, displeasure
would be turned into favor. The royal order had not yet come—he was
still free—so he determined to waste no moment in idleness.

This was to be no child’s play, for dense tropical forests were in
front of him; lofty mountain ranges; and deep rivers. There were also
vindictive Indian tribes in the path, and warriors who had no love for
those mail-clad white-skins. Balboa had less than two hundred soldiers
and these were not properly armed, yet, should he stay where he was,
ruin stared him in the face and disgrace confronted him. It was forward
and success, or a future of oblivion in old Madrid.

The morning of the first day of September, 1513, dawned bright and
sunny upon the harbor of Darien, as a small fleet of vessels sailed
away, with Balboa in command. With them were several savage bloodhounds
with which to chase and terrorize the Indians, and also a number of
friendly natives who were to act as guides and interpreters. The
journey up the coast was uneventful, and, having finally arrived at
Coyba, the domain of a friendly chief, the soldiers were disembarked,
the march was commenced, and all struck off cheerfully towards the high
mountains which could be seen towering up in the interior. It was hot
and the men suffered from the torrid blaze, because of their armor and
steel caps.

Keeping on, and struggling through the tropic vegetation, the
expedition made good progress, and reached a native village from which
the inhabitants had fled as soon as they had learned of the approach of
these adventurers. But it was quite necessary to obtain guides who knew
the wilderness in front, so Balboa sent some of his Indians to find the
chieftain, who had disappeared from this pleasantly situated little
collection of huts. The chief was not far away and allowed the native
path-finders to approach without waylaying them. He was later persuaded
to visit the camp of the Spaniards, and, after he had been feasted,
consented to furnish the eager Castilians with trained men who could
pilot them through the country.

“There,” said he, pointing to a lofty ridge, “is a mountain from the
top of which one may see the great waters upon the other side.”

Balboa’s eyes sparkled, for he was now within striking distance of his
goal and he saw success written upon the banner, which, waving aloft,
carried the blazoned arms of Castile. A number of the men were ill and
exhausted, so they were sent back. The remainder were eager to get
on, so, with renewed courage, the Spaniards again pressed through the
tropic foliage and tangled undergrowth.

Advancing for about thirty miles, they came to the territory of a
chieftain who was a deadly enemy of the native whose country they had
just traversed. He attacked the small Spanish band with vindictive
fury. The natives advanced with a great show of confidence,—yelling,
screeching, and discharging a veritable shower of arrows. The first
boom from the old-time guns made them cease their yelping and stop
still. The Castilians now advanced for a little sword-work, but they
were to find no brave foe who would engage in combat. The Indians fled.
As they did so, the bloodhounds were let go and many of the redskins
were overtaken and worried to death by these ferocious animals. In the
native village was found a large quantity of both gold and jewels.

Some of the Castilians had been struck by arrows, so they were now left
behind. The rest pressed on, for they had reached the foot of the large
mountain from the top of which the friendly chief had declared that one
could view the vast expanse of water beyond. All were cheerful and sang
songs from old Madrid in order to make the journey a more joyous one.

That night they camped near a spring of crystal water and in the
morning emerged from the forest at the foot of an eminence from which
their friends, the natives, told them that they could see the ocean.

Now note how Balboa did the same thing which another explorer was
criticized for doing many years later. He left his party behind, in
order that no one might share the honor of discovery, and climbed alone
to the mountain top. Up, up, he clambered, and at last stood upon the
summit. Hurrah! he had found what he had suffered great hardship and
privation to find. There before his eager gaze lay another ocean.

The adventurous explorer sank upon the soil and feasted his eyes upon
the scene. Beyond a wide, intervening belt of rocks and forest, and
seen through the swaying branches of green savannah trees, was that
vast, mysterious ocean of which Columbus had heard, but which no
European had yet beheld. It lay there gleaming, glistening, rising and
falling, beckoning to the adventurous to sail upon its surface and find
danger,—and treasure.

Balboa reclined there for a long time, dreaming, speculating, and
thanking his lucky star that he had at last seen this once fabled sheet
of water, for now he could go before King Ferdinand and be sure of
a cordial reception. Then he arose and climbed down the side of the
mountain to where his followers lay drowsing.

“Come, men!” he cried. “I have found it, the Mal de Sur (Southern

The men scrambled to the summit in no time, and, when they, too, saw
the gray, rolling billows, they set up a wild cheering. The _Te Deum_
was chanted, a cross was erected, and, from this lofty eminence, Balboa
cried out that he took possession of this sheet of water, with all of
its islands and surrounding lands, in the name of his master, the King
of Spain. Then again a hymn was sung and all clambered down to the
lowland where they feasted right merrily. It had been an eventful hour
for these hard-marching, hard-mannered swashbucklers from Darien.

This was the twenty-sixth day of September, 1513, a day to be long
remembered by Balboa, for he felt a great weight lifted from his
shoulders as he thought of that letter which Lamudio had sent all the
way from Spain. His men had taken twenty days in crossing a strip of
territory scarcely forty miles in width, so you can well imagine how
tangled must have been this tropic underbrush. Yet, unmindful of their
hardships, they now set forth to journey to the very sea-coast, and to
there touch the water of this newly discovered Mal de Sur.


The Castilians descended the slope of the high mountains and sought for
the rich kingdoms of which they had heard the natives speak. But they
found nothing remarkable save some wild thickets and impenetrable bogs.

Finally they passed through the territory of a warlike chieftain who
came out to stop their progress and forbade them to set foot within his
dominions. He drew up his followers in close array, and seemed to be
quite willing to fight; but a volley from the arquebusiers scattered
his followers like chaff before the wind. The chieftain soon gave
himself up, and, in order to gain the favor of the Spaniards, brought
them a quantity of gold. This pleased Balboa greatly and he tarried in
the native village for several days.

Then separate parties were dispatched to the sea in order to find
the best route by which it could be approached. One of these bands,
in which was a fellow named Alonzo Martin, reached the water before
any one else, and at a place where were several canoes. Alonzo jumped
into one of these, and, pushing it into the waves, cried out to his

“See, my friends, I am the first European to ever sail upon the new

Balboa followed soon afterwards, and, taking a banner upon which was
painted a picture of the Virgin and child, and under them the royal
arms of Spain, drew his sword, waded to his knees in the water, and
solemnly declared that this belonged to his sovereign, together with
all the adjacent lands from pole to pole, as long as the world should
endure and until the final day of judgment. Then he came back to the
beach where his few followers cheered lustily.

The climate was hot and muggy, but the Spaniards were keen and
enterprising and soon had explored a considerable area. The Indians
were friendly and gave them gifts of gold and pearls, of which a
quantity was set aside for shipment to Spain. Stories were told by the
natives of a country far to the south where was more gold than could be
ever seen in this particular land. The chattering brown-skinned Indians
also spoke of animals, resembling a deer, which the southern people
used for transporting their luggage. They showed the Spaniards a figure
molded in clay which was said to be the baggage-bearer of these natives
to the south. It seemed to be somewhat like a deer and somewhat like a
camel in appearance, in fact, was the llama, which Pizarro later came
upon in far-distant Peru. The tales of this country and these animals
stirred up many thoughts in the active mind of Balboa, and he conceived
the idea of sailing to that mysterious realm and taking possession of
it, even as he had seized the Isthmus of Panama.

The Spaniards had now seen about all that was to be seen, and it was
time to march across the mountains towards Darien. With their usual
cheerfulness the adventurers started for their home port, carrying
along a great quantity of gold and pearls, and also a stock of
provisions, which was transported by friendly natives. But, as they
tramped into the country, they secured more gold, and, because they
loaded the Indians with this instead of with food, they came near
dying of hunger. They met many hostile chiefs, among whom was a fellow
who had eighty wives. He was called Tubanama, and, although he put up a
stiff fight for his freedom, he was captured. His people ransomed him
by means of many golden ornaments, and, thus appeased, the Castilians
marched onward, naming this country Panama, after the wily chieftain.

Balboa was now prostrated by fever and had to be borne along in a
hammock by the natives. The heat and humidity of the swampy country
caused many of his followers to become ill and this delayed the march.
Still, the little caravan kept on, and, on the eighteenth day of
January, reached Darien, after an absence of four and a half months
in this journey of exploration. The entire population turned out to
welcome the discoverer of the Pacific, who returned laden with pearls,
golden ornaments and plates of embossed silver. There was also a long
train of captive natives who followed in the rear. The trip had been
a glorious success and all cheered lustily for Balboa: adventurer,
explorer, and first European to view the Pacific Ocean.

The time was now opportune for a missive to the King of Spain, for the
adventurous explorer knew that Ferdinand would not oust a man from
office who had added such a vast domain to his possessions. So he
dispatched a special envoy to Madrid, with a letter which gave a full
account of this overland journey. He also added a gift of glittering
pearls and one-fifth of the gold which he had secured, this being the
regular tax which the Spanish government imposed upon all its subjects.

The vessel was delayed in sailing, and the delay was fatal, for the
King of Spain had resolved to appoint another Governor of Panama in
place of Balboa, as he had listened to the story of Encisco and had
decided that he had been very unjustly treated by this upstart from
Hispaniola, who had escaped from his debtors in a cask. A man named
Pedrarias had been selected for the post and he was already on his way,
accompanied by a host of adventurers who had heard that Darien was a
country of enormous wealth. There were, in fact, fully two thousand
men, who were eager for adventure in this new-found territory.

Pedrarias, with his many followers, had scarcely put to sea, before a
ship sailed into the harbor of Seville bearing the envoy from Balboa.
He delivered his letters to Ferdinand, told him of the discovery of
this wonderful new ocean, and presented the King with the golden
vessels and trinkets which his faithful subject had sent him.

The King opened his eyes in wonder and surprise. Why, he might have
made an error after all! This fellow was a pretty good sort,—a
discoverer of new territory, of a new ocean, indeed. He had also sent
him considerable treasure. Well! Well! Well! The King decided that he
had acted somewhat hastily. He would send another missive to far-off
Darien, and would make the excellent Balboa a colleague of Pedrarias,
and entitled to equal honor. That would be proper recognition for all
that this man had done for the crown of Castile and should satisfy him,
without a doubt.

Meanwhile Pedrarias was sailing towards the Isthmus and eventually
landed at Darien, where, at the head of two thousand men in gorgeous
array, he made a triumphant entry into the town.

The cavaliers from Spain had expected to find a brilliant city, with
food in abundance and treasure piled high on every side. Instead of
this they found Balboa wearing a cotton suit and a Panama hat. His five
hundred seasoned veterans were clad in loose cotton clothes, and were
living in straw-thatched cabins on roots and cassava-bread. They also
had no wine, but were drinking water.

The newcomers were grievously disappointed at what they found here in
the colony. The climate was hot and sticky and fever soon carried off
a score of victims. Others sickened and died of various complaints,
so that, within a very short time, seven hundred of these dashing
cavaliers had passed to the great beyond. A ship-load of the gay blades
now sailed back to Spain, for they had seen all that they desired of
this new country. Another ship-load soon followed them to Cuba.

Several expeditions were sent into the interior after gold, but they
suffered ill fortune. One of these parties was defeated by the warlike
chieftain Tubanama. Another small army, sent out by Pedrarias, was
overwhelmed and butchered to a man: only one small Indian boy escaping
to tell the tale of the massacre. The friends of Balboa began to murmur
against this newly-appointed Governor and to cry out, that, should
their own leader be in control, there would be no such disasters.

Pedrarias realized that his own position was getting to be insecure,
and decided that he had better form an alliance with Balboa by giving
him one of his daughters in marriage. He suggested this to his rival
and the other accepted the offer gladly. Thus a written agreement was
drawn up and signed by both parties whereby the young lady was to be
joined in wedlock to Balboa just as soon as she could be brought from
Spain. All now looked favorable for a peaceful rule in the Isthmus.

Balboa’s restless mind soon conceived the idea of another
expedition,—or: a second journey to the Pacific coast. This he wished
to explore, and, since there were no vessels upon the other side of
the mountains, nor could he build any, should he attempt the feat,
he decided to cut and shape the timbers on the Atlantic coast and to
transport them across the Isthmus to the Pacific. A worthy undertaking
and one which took great courage and perseverance! Let us see how it
came out!

The Spaniards set diligently to work and soon had shaped the timbers
for two brigantines, with all the necessary spars and rigging. It was a
stupendous undertaking to transport these to the other shore, yet the
feat was accomplished. The timbers were carried over the mountains by
the miserable natives, who had been enslaved by the greedy Castilians,
and they did good work. Although hundreds perished on the journey, the
fact gave their master little concern.

Finally the caravan had arrived upon the Pacific coast, the ships were
put together, and floated upon the waters of the new-found ocean.
Hurray! The first European vessel had been launched upon the far away
Pacific and the proud flag of Spain floated from her masthead.

Balboa and his compatriots boarded their ships and headed south, bound
to sail to that far distant land of which the natives had told him. But
stormy winds were met with, so the men put back, sailed to the point
which they had started from, and determined to make two more vessels
before they would again depart for the land of the llama and glittering
gold. Alas! busy tongues had been working against Balboa since he had
left Darien and it was to go ill with this intrepid explorer.

The vessels were greatly in need of iron and of pitch, so it was
decided to send across the mountains for these. Balboa, himself
accompanied his men, and, as he advanced through the forest, was met
by a messenger who presented a letter from Governor Pedrarias. It was
couched in the friendliest of terms and bade him come at once to Darien
in order to confer with him upon matters of the utmost importance.
Balboa smiled, for matters were apparently going well with him.

The weak old Governor, however, had been stirred up by the enemies of
the discoverer of the Pacific, to such a point, that he was in a fit
of jealous rage. Some had told him that Balboa had no intention of
marrying his daughter, as he was about to take unto himself an Indian
girl as wife. Others whispered that he and his men were about to start
an independent government on the Pacific coast and throw off their
allegiance to the Spanish crown. Pedrarias determined to arrest this
successful adventurer as soon as he should arrive.

Balboa, meanwhile, was approaching the Atlantic sea-coast with a light
heart, and a feeling that all would go well with him. What was his
surprise when he was met by a cavalier called Pizarro, with an armed
force, and was told that, by orders of the Governor, he was a prisoner.
Yet he submitted quietly and was taken to Darien in irons. There
he found that the irascible Governor had determined to try him for
treason, and, if he could, to do away with him.

A trial was soon held, and the venturesome navigator was charged with
treasonable intentions. There was no evidence against him that was not
trumped-up for the occasion, yet he pleaded his innocence in vain.

“How preposterous is this charge of my determination to usurp the
power here,” said he. “I have four vessels and three hundred devoted
followers upon the other coast. Should I have so wished, I could have
sailed away far beyond the Governor’s reach, and could have founded a
colony of mine own in far-distant Peru. My coming here is good evidence
that I had no desire to disobey the summons of the Governor. I am
innocent of these so-called offenses.”

In spite of all that he could say, the judges found him guilty, yet
recommended mercy because of his wonderful discoveries and evident
patriotism for Spain. The Governor, however, would entertain no
suggestion of this nature.

“If he is guilty, let him die, and the sooner the better,” said the
irate Pedrarias, scowling. “To the block with him!”

So they took brave Balboa out and beheaded him in spite of all the
renown which he had won. The discoverer of the Pacific met his end with
calm indifference, and, as the news of this was borne to the people of
Darien, many wept tears for the man who had founded their city and had
brought much honor to the Spanish flag. Thus, in the very prime of his
manhood, perished one of the greatest explorers which the world has
produced, and, although he was foully and brutally murdered by his own
people, his fame will last as long as men love those of courage, of
daring, and of imagination.




  _Lift high the golden goblets and quaff to our leader bold,_
  _Who came from Cuba’s heated sands to gather Aztec gold,_
  _His heart was big with courage; with his hands he seized the helm,_
  _And he gathered the power and gained the dower of Montezuma’s realm._
  _The muffled war drums mocked him, from the top of the white stone
  _And the maddened priests reviled him as they heard his trumpets
  _His Tlascalan allies trembled at the curse of the warriors red,_
  _But the cry was ever “Onward!” to the city’s fountain head._
  _To the top of the teocalli where the eagle banner floats,_
  _Where the evil gods are smiling and Huitzilopochtli gloats;_
  _Up! Up! our leader clambered. Up! Up! and won the prize,_
  _Hurrah! Hurrah! for Cortés! Come victors, drink as we rise!_





TO the brave belong the spoils. To him, who ventures much, sometimes
comes a great reward.

Here is the story of a man who determined to conquer an empire with
but a handful of followers,—and accomplished his purpose. Although it
seems to be a romance, it is a series of facts. Strange, wonderful,
almost unbelievable, yet true; for truth, they say, is sometimes
stranger than fiction. Listen, then, to this tale of as valiant a soul
as ever led fighting men on to victory!

Long, long ago, when fat King Henry the Eighth ruled over Merrie
England, and Charles the Fifth was King of Spain, there lived a young
Spanish cavalier called Hernando Cortés. He was a wild youth and did
not care for books or study. In fact, although his parents wished him
to be a lawyer and, when he was fourteen years of age, sent him to an
excellent school, he would not learn his lessons and so was asked to
leave the institution. Returning home, he greatly annoyed his good
father and mother by cutting up and playing all kinds of pranks, so
that they were glad to learn he had determined to join an expedition
which was setting out for that New World so lately discovered by

Shortly after this decision he fell from the top of a high wall, upon
which he had been climbing after wild grapes, and hurt himself so
grievously that he could not walk. It was therefore impossible for him
to join the adventurers who were heading for the New World. The ship
set sail without him.

For two years longer, young Cortés remained at home, and then, finding
that another expedition was about to set sail, he obtained permission
to join this fleet, bound for the West Indies. He was now nineteen
years of age and was extremely agile and sinewy. His face was pale, his
eyes piercing, and his hair raven black. He was looking for adventure
and was determined to bear himself right valiantly in whatever
situation he should find himself.

The fleet set sail, and arrived without accident at Hispaniola. Cortés
went immediately to see the Governor of the island, whom he had known
in Spain.

“You must remain here and become a good citizen,” said the Spanish
dignitary to him. “I will therefore present you with a grant of land
which I hope that you will cultivate.”

“I came to get gold, not to till the ground like a peasant,” said
Cortés. “And I am anxious for adventure.”

The Governor laughed.

“You had better become a farmer,” said he. “There is more money in
crops than there is in searching for gold.”

Six years passed, six rather monotonous years for Cortés, although he
occasionally joined some expeditions against the natives, where he
learned how to endure toil and danger, and became familiar with the
tactics of Indian warfare. At length, in 1511, when Diego Velasquez,
the Governor’s Lieutenant, undertook the conquest of Cuba, Cortés
gladly became one of his followers, and, throughout the expedition,
conducted himself right valiantly.

The Spaniards conquered the country; but when, later on, there was
distribution of lands and of offices, great discontent arose. Those
who believed that they had been ill-used, chose Cortés to journey back
to Hispaniola and lay their grievances before the higher authorities.
This reached the ears of Velasquez. He ordered that the youthful Cortés
should be bound, loaded with fetters, and thrown into prison. The act
was humiliating, but it was what those of Spanish blood were accustomed
to do to one another. Note, however, how the young man conducted

Cortés soon succeeded in escaping from the irons which encircled him,
and, letting himself down from the window of the jail, took refuge in
the nearest church, where he claimed that he could not be touched, as
he was under the protection of the priests. Velasquez heard of this,
was very angry, and stationed a guard near the sanctuary, with orders
to seize the youthful Spaniard, should he endeavor to get off. Cortés
was careless, wandered, one day, quite far from the church door, and
was immediately captured.

Velasquez determined to get rid of the young adventurer, this time,
so had him carried on board a ship which was to sail, next day, for
Hispaniola. But Cortés was again too clever for him. By great exertion
he managed to drag his feet through the rings which fettered him, and,
dropping silently over the side of the ship into a little boat, made
off in the darkness.

As he neared the shore, the water became so rough that the boat was
useless, so he dove overboard and swam the rest of the way. He was
tossed up upon the beach in a half-dazed condition; but finally arose,
made his way to the church, and hid himself in the sanctuary. Velasquez
had no idea where he had disappeared to.

Shortly after this the bold adventurer married a lady named Catalina
Xuarez whose family was friendly with the hard-hearted Velasquez. Peace
was therefore made with the Governor, and Cortés received a large
estate near St. Iago, where he lived for some years and even amassed a
considerable sum of money.

Here he was quietly residing when news came of an exploring expedition
which had set out in 1518 to find out what lay farther to the west. It
had been led by Grijalva, a nephew of Velasquez, and he had touched at
various places on the coast of Mexico. This was a land inhabited by
Indians called Aztecs who had named their country after “Mexitili”: war
god of their race.

These Aztecs, it seems, had originally come down from the north, and,
after many wanderings, had halted on the western border of a great lake
which lay in a long valley, situated at a height of about 7,500 feet
above the sea, so that the air was cool even in the hottest weather.
The valley, sixty odd miles in width, was surrounded by towering rocks
which were a protection from invasion.

The Aztecs were few in numbers when they first came to the shores of
the lake, but they increased rapidly in population and in power. Nearby
were other Indian tribes, and, as there was much warfare between them,
the Aztecs united themselves with the King of the Tezcucans in order
to aid him against a tribe called the Tepanics, who had invaded his
territory. The allies won, and, as a result, an agreement was made
between the states of Mexico, Tezcuco, and Tlacopan, that they should
support one another in the wars and divide all the spoils between them.
This alliance remained unbroken for over a hundred years.

Although fond of warfare and cruel in their tortures to prisoners, the
Aztecs had many wise laws and institutions, and were, in some respects,
highly civilized. They were governed by an Emperor, and, when he died,
another one was chosen by four nobles from among his sons or nephews.
The one preferred was obliged to have distinguished himself in war,
and he was not crowned until he had waged a successful campaign, had
captured large numbers of the enemy, and thus provided enough captives
to grace his entry into the capital.

The Aztecs worshiped thirteen principal gods, and more than two hundred
of less importance, whose temples were everywhere to be seen. At the
head of all the gods was the great Huitzilopochtli, whose temples were
in every city of the empire, and whose image was always loaded with
costly ornaments.

They also had a legend that there had once dwelt upon the earth the
great god, Quetzalcoatl, god of the air, under whose sway the Aztec
people had flourished and there had been peace and prosperity among
all men. He was said to have been tall in stature, with a white skin,
long, dark hair, and a flowing beard. He had, in fact, quite resembled
a Spaniard, and this led to the success which Cortés had with the
Mexicans, as you will presently see.

Quetzalcoatl, it was said, had in some way incurred the wrath of the
principal gods, so that he had been forced to leave the country. He had
turned towards the Gulf of Mexico, had stopped at the city of Cholula,
and had then departed in a magic boat, made of serpent’s skins, to the
fabled land of Tlapallan. Tradition had it that as he was leaving, he
had turned to the faithful ones who had followed him saying: “Watch and
wait for me, I shall come again.” For this reason the Aztecs were ever
on the lookout for the great and benevolent god of the white skin and
flowing beard.

As horses were not known, communication was held by means of couriers,
who, trained from childhood to run, traveled with amazing swiftness.
There were relay stations, or post houses, for these couriers, and
they would thus carry on their messages for a hundred to two hundred
miles in a day. In this manner the Emperor of the Aztecs, as he sat in
his palace in the City of Mexico, would feast upon fresh fish, which,
twenty-four hours before, had been caught in the Gulf of Mexico, over
two hundred miles away. Thus the news was transmitted when war was in
progress, and, as the messengers came along the highways, the people
knew whether the tidings were good or bad, by the dress which they
wore. If bad news, the runners were in black. If good, in gay colors.

The one great object of all expeditions made by the Aztecs was to
capture victims to be sacrificed upon their altars. They believed
that the soldier who fell in battle was transported at once to the
blissful regions of the sun, and consequently they fought with an utter
disregard for danger. The dress of the warriors was magnificent. Their
bodies were protected by a belt of quilted cotton, impervious to all
darts or arrows, and over this the chiefs wore mantles of gorgeous
feather-work. Their helmets were made of wood, fashioned so as to
resemble the head of some wild animal, and embellished with bits of
gold and of silver. Their banners were embroidered with gold and with

After the prisoners had been brought from the battle field they were
sacrificed to the gods in a most brutal and horrible manner. The poor
victim was held by five priests upon a huge, round, sacrificial stone;
while a sixth butcher, clothed in a scarlet mantle, plunged a long
knife into the breast of the writhing captive, and, cutting out the
heart, held it up first to the sun, which they worshiped, and then cast
it at the feet of the stone god. The dagger used was as sharp as a
razor and made of “itztli,” a volcanic substance as hard as flint. This
was not all. The body of the captive thus sacrificed was afterwards
given to the warrior who had taken him in battle, who thereupon gave
a great banquet and served him up among choice dishes and delicious
beverages, for the entertainment of his friends.

The Aztecs called their temples, _teocallis_, which means, “Houses of
God,” and there were several hundred of them in each of the principal
cities. They looked like Egyptian pyramids, and were divided into four
or five stories, each one smaller than the one below it. The ascent
was by a flight of steps. At the top was a broad space on which stood
a tower, from forty to fifty feet high, which contained the images of
the gods. Before such a tower was the stone of sacrifice and two lofty
altars on which the sacred fires burned continually. The floor was dyed
crimson from the blood of the helpless victims of the Aztec wars.

These people were unknown to the Spaniards, at this time, since of
them Grijalva sent back to Cuba only a few vague reports. It was said,
however, that the country was full of gold and of treasure.

When this news reached the ears of Cortés he was immediately fired with
a resolve to penetrate into this unknown land and to gain great renown
for himself. The Governor of Cuba, likewise, determined to send out
ships in order to follow up the discoveries of Grijalva. Who should be
put in command? Who was better, indeed, than Hernando Cortés!

The Spanish adventurer, with the utmost energy, at once began to
purchase and to fit out ships. He used all the money that he had saved
and as much as he could persuade his friends to lend him, so that it
was not long before he was in possession of six vessels, while three
hundred recruits had signified their intention of sailing with him.

But now the Spanish nature began to assert itself, for a jealousy and
distrust of Cortés took possession of the mind of Velasquez and he
determined to entrust the fleet to the hands of some one else. This
would have put an end to the aspirations of the youthful leader, had it
not been whispered to him that Velasquez was about to have him removed
from his place. He took care to checkmate the plans of his former
enemy. Summoning his officers secretly, he set sail that very night
with what supplies he was able to put his hands on, although his ships
were neither ready for a voyage, nor properly provisioned.

Morning dawned and Velasquez heard that the fleet was under weigh. He
rose hastily, galloped to the ocean, and found Cortés in a small boat
drifting near the shore. The commander of the expedition rowed back to
within speaking distance.

“This is a courteous way of taking leave of me, truly,” cried the angry

“Pardon me,” answered the young mariner. “Time presses and there are
some things which should be done even before they are thought of.
Good-bye, my friend; may you live to see the day when I return a great

With that he paddled to the fleet and ordered all hands to sail away.
This was November the 18th., 1518.

Shortly after this the vessels anchored off Trinidad, a town on the
southern coast of Cuba. Here Cortés landed, set up his standard, and
invited all, who wished to join the expedition, to come on with him.
He told them that there was great wealth to be gained and attracted
many volunteers to his banner. Finally, in February, he had sufficient
reënforcements assembled, so he set sail. He had eleven vessels, one
hundred and ten sailors, five hundred and fifty-three soldiers, and two
hundred Indians. He likewise had sixteen horses, ten large guns, and
four falconets, or light cannon.

The fleet set out, touched upon the coast in several places, and then
reached the mouth of the Rio de Tabasco. The Spaniards landed and found
that the Indians were hostile and were drawn up in great force against
them. But Cortés had his cannon put ashore, ordered an attack, and soon
had captured both the town of Tabasco and also many of the Indians, who
saw the uselessness of further fighting, and consequently came humbly
to the Spaniards, bringing presents and slaves. Among the latter was a
beautiful Mexican girl called Malinche who had fallen into the hands
of the cacique of Tabasco through some traders, to whom she had been
sold by her mother. The Spaniards always called her Marina, and, as she
quickly learned to speak their language, she was soon of inestimable
assistance to them as an interpreter. Cortés made her his secretary and
always kept her near him in the exciting days which followed.

By means of his interpreter, Cortés found that these Indians were the
subjects of the emperor Montezuma, and were governed by Tenhtlile, one
of the great nobles. He determined to send word to the potentate who
ruled over this country and to let him know that he and his followers
wished to see him.

Upon the day following, Tenhtlile arrived at the Spanish camp,
accompanied by a numerous retinue. The Indian chieftain asked about the
country of the strangers and the object of their visit.

“We are subjects of a powerful monarch beyond the seas,” replied the
leader of the adventurers, “who has heard of the greatness of your
Mexican Emperor and has sent me with a present to be delivered to him
in person, as a token of his good will. I would be glad, therefore, to
go immediately to his capital and trust that you can guide me there.”

This seemed to annoy the Aztec noble, for he replied in a haughty

“How is it that you have been here only two days, and yet demand to
see my Emperor? I am surprised to learn that there lives another
monarch as powerful as Montezuma, but, if it is true that you are his
representative, I will communicate with my Emperor and will forward to
him the royal present sent by you. Meanwhile, pray receive the gifts
which I have brought for you.”

As he spoke, a number of slaves came forward and deposited ten loads of
gorgeous feather-work, and a wicker basket filled with golden ornaments.

Cortés was greatly pleased with this show of friendliness, and ordered
his own soldiers to bring forth the presents for Montezuma. These were
an armchair richly carved and painted, a crimson cloth cap with a gold
medal, and a quantity of collars, bracelets and other ornaments of cut
glass, which much surprised the Aztecs, as this was a country where
there was no glass, and hence these were more valuable than emeralds or

“I see over there a soldier with a shining thing upon his head,” now
said Tenhtlile. “I should much like to send that to Montezuma, for it
will remind him of the one worn by the god Quetzalcoatl. Can I not have

“Certainly,” replied Cortes, “and I trust that you will ask the Emperor
to return it filled with the gold dust of the country, so that I may
compare it with that which is in mine own. If you must know it, my kind
friend, we Spaniards are troubled with a disease of the heart for which
gold is the only sure remedy. I trust, therefore, that you will send us
all that you can.”

While he was speaking, Cortés observed that one of the Indians was
busy with a pencil, and, on looking at his work, saw that he had made
a sketch of the Spaniards, their costumes, and weapons. This was the
celebrated picture writing, for which the Aztecs were famous.

“You see,” said Tenhtlile, “the Emperor can thus get an excellent idea
of you and your followers.”

“Bring out the cavalry,” cried Cortes, at this. “We will show you our
wonderful horses.”

The appearance of the snorting steeds filled the natives with
astonishment, and, when the General ordered a cannon to be fired off,
the natives ran away in alarm. The painters, however, were very busy,
and faithfully recorded everything which the Spaniards possessed, even
putting in a picture of the ships as they swung at anchor.

At length the Aztecs departed, with much bowing and scraping. Their
chief, Tenhtlile, seemed to be in a good humor and left orders with his
people to supply the Spanish general with all that he might require
until further instructions from the Emperor Montezuma.

Meanwhile great excitement was taking place in the Mexican capital, for
many seemed to think that the great god, Quetzalcoatl, had returned
to earth and was about to revisit the scenes of his former life.
Montezuma, himself, seemed to be undecided how to act. When the picture
writings, showing the Spanish invaders, reached him, he summoned the
Kings of Tezcuco and Tlacopan in order to consult with them as to how
the strangers should be received. The three differed in their ideas,
but finally Montezuma resolved to send a rich present to Cortés which
would impress him with a high idea of the Emperor’s wealth and his
grandeur. At the same time he determined to forbid him to approach the

Eight days passed away—eight long days for Cortés and his men, as they
were suffering greatly from the intense heat—and then the embassy,
accompanied by the governor, Tenhtlile, arrived at the camp, and
presented Cortés with the magnificent presents sent by Montezuma.

After the usual salute, the slaves unrolled some delicately woven mats
and displayed the gifts which the Aztec Emperor had sent. There were
shields, helmets, and cuirasses embossed with plates and ornaments of
pure gold; with collars and bracelets of the same precious metal. There
were also sandals, fans, plumes, and crests of variegated feathers,
wrought with gold and silver thread, and sprinkled with pearls and with
precious stones. There were golden birds and animals; curtain coverlets
and robes of cotton. There were more than thirty loads of cotton cloth,
and finally, the helmet which Cortés had sent, loaded to the brim with
grains of pure gold.

This rich treasure fired the zeal and ardor of the Spaniards; yet
they controlled themselves, and expressed admiration only for two
circular plates of gold and of silver as large as carriage wheels. One,
representing the sun, was richly carved with plants and with animals,
and was worth a fabulous sum of money.

When the voyageurs had received the presents, the ambassadors
courteously delivered their message, to the effect that Montezuma had
great pleasure in holding communication with such a powerful monarch
as the King of Spain; but could grant no personal interview to his
soldiers. That the way to the capital was too long and dangerous for
the white men to attempt. Therefore the strangers must return to the
land from which they had come.

Cortés received this message with coldness, and, turning to his
officers, said:

“This is, indeed, a rich and powerful Monarch, and he does well to
speak in this manner; but I am determined to visit him in his capital.”

He then bade good-by to the Aztec ambassadors, who shortly withdrew.
That night every neighboring hut was deserted by the natives, and the
Spaniards were left quite alone in the wilderness. They prepared for an
attack, but none came.

The soldiers now became mutinous, saying that it was about time they
returned with what treasure they had already collected. Cortés had
difficulty in keeping them out of the boats, but now an event occurred
which aided him very materially in his design to march to the City of
Mexico, a design which he had long ago determined upon.

Five Indians entered the camp who wore rings of gold and bright blue
gems in their ears and nostrils. A gold leaf, delicately wrought, was
attached to their under lip. These were not Aztecs and explained that
they came from Cempoalla, the capital of a tribe called the Totonacs,
who had been lately conquered by the Aztecs, and who greatly resented
the oppressions of these bloodthirsty tribesmen. The fame of the
Spaniards, said they, had reached their leader, who had sent them to
request the strangers to visit him, and to aid him in throwing off the
domination of the Aztecs.

It can be easily seen that Cortés was delighted to hear this. He saw
that discontent in the provinces conquered by Montezuma could be turned
to his own advantage, and that, by allying himself to these Totonacs,
he might be able to conquer Montezuma himself. He therefore dismissed
the tribesmen with many presents, promising that he would soon visit
their city.

Not long afterwards, the army set out to march northward, to a place
where it had been decided to build a town. The men crossed a river
in rafts and broken canoes, which they found on the bank, and soon
came to a very different kind of country than that which they had left
behind them. There were wide plains covered with green grass and groves
of palm trees, among which were deer and flocks of pheasants and wild
turkeys. The trees were loaded with fruits and with beautiful clusters
of bowers, while gayly plumaged birds fluttered in the branches. There
were gardens and orchards on either side of the road. As the Spanish
soldiers passed along, they were met by crowds of friendly natives,
who mingled fearlessly with the soldiers, and hung garlands of flowers
around the neck of the General’s horse.

The cacique, or chief of the Totonacs, received Cortés with great
courtesy, and assigned his soldiers to a neighboring temple, where they
were well supplied with provisions. Cortés, himself, was presented with
several vessels of gold and robes of fine cotton.

Upon the following day the General paid the cacique a visit, and, with
the aid of Marina, held a long talk with him. He promised to aid the
Totonacs against Montezuma. This pleased the chief greatly, and he
promised to assist the Spaniards in every way that he could. Cortés
returned to his troops, ordered an advance, and soon reached the town
of Chiahuitztla, which stood upon a crag overlooking the valley.

As the Spaniards were halted in the center of the village, five men
entered the market place where they were standing. Their dark, glossy
hair was tied in a knot upon the top of their heads, and they carried
bunches of sweet-smelling flowers in their hands. Their attendants
bore wands, or fans, to sweep away the flies and insects from their
lordly masters, who, by their disdainful looks, showed that they
considered themselves to be superior to all around them. They brushed
by the Spaniards, scarcely seeming to notice them, and were immediately
joined by the Totonac chiefs, who seemed anxious to gain their favor.
Cortés was much astonished, and, turning to Marina, asked what this

“These are Aztec nobles,” the girl replied, “and they are empowered to
receive tribute for Montezuma.”

“What are they saying?” asked he.

“They bring word that Montezuma is very angry with the Totonacs for
entertaining you and your men without his permission,” Marina replied.
“And, as a punishment, he has demanded twenty young men and maidens to
be sacrificed to the gods.”

Cortés was much irritated by this and told the Totonacs that they
should not only refuse this demand but should seize the Aztec nobles
and throw them into prison. This was done, but Cortés had the true
Spanish character and now played a part of duplicity which was
characteristic of the men from Seville. He had two of the captured
Aztecs released, brought them before him, and very cunningly led them
to believe that he was sorry to learn that they had been thrown into
jail. He told them that he would help them to escape, and begged them
to tell Montezuma that the great Emperor was held in high regard by
the Spaniards. The two nobles were then hastily dispatched to the
port where lay the Spanish vessels. They were taken on board, landed
secretly upon the coast, and allowed to depart for the court of
Montezuma. The Totonacs were very angry when they found that two of
their prisoners had escaped, and determined to sacrifice the remainder;
but Cortés interfered, had them taken to his vessels, and soon allowed
them to join their companions. In this way he secured the friendship of
Montezuma, while still appearing as the friend of the Totonacs.

Messengers were sent to all the other Totonac cities, telling the
natives of the defiance that had been shown the Emperor, and bidding
them, also, to refuse to pay tribute to Montezuma. The Indians soon
came flocking into the town in order to confer with the powerful
strangers, and thus Cortes managed to embroil them with the Emperor. At
the same time he made them all swear allegiance to the Spanish King.

The Spaniards now busied themselves in building a town, for they had
to have some place to store their belongings and also to retreat to in
case of disaster. The Indians helped them willingly, so they soon had
an excellent little village: the first one in new Spain.

When the Aztec nobles who had been set free reached the city of
Mexico, and told Montezuma of the treatment which they had received,
the Emperor of the Aztecs felt rather kindly disposed towards the
Spaniards, and sent an embassy consisting of two young nephews and
four of his chief nobles. They bore a princely gift of gold, richly
embroidered cotton mantles, and robes of feather work. On coming before
Cortés, the envoys presented Montezuma’s thanks to him for the courtesy
he had shown the captive nobles.

“We believe that you are the long-looked-for strangers who are to
return with the god Quetzalcoatl,” said the ambassadors, “and are
therefore of the same lineage as ourselves. Therefore, out of deference
to you, we will spare the Totonacs; but our day of vengeance against
them will soon come.”

Nothing was said about not being allowed to journey to the capital,
so Cortés gave these Aztecs presents, as usual, and told them that
he intended to soon visit Montezuma in the city of Mexico, when all
misunderstanding between them would be adjusted. The Totonacs were
amazed and awed by the influence which the Spaniards seemed to exert
upon the Aztecs, and felt safe from further incursions by the terrible

The bold and resolute Cortés was now determined to march to Mexico
City, itself, to oust Montezuma, and to obtain possession of his
country and his treasures. But he knew that the Governor of Cuba
was his enemy, and also knew that, should he not send news of his
discoveries to the King of Spain, he would be seriously interfered
with by Velasquez. Consequently he prepared a letter setting forth the
extent and magnitude of his discoveries, gave up all his own treasure
which he had obtained from the natives, and persuaded his soldiers to
do the same. This was placed in the hands of some of his followers
who were given a ship, were bidden god-speed, and were told to sail
to Spain. Cortés besought the King to make him Governor over all the
new territory, so that he could add the great Indian Empire to the
possessions of the Spanish crown.

Very soon after the departure of the treasure ship, Cortés discovered
that there was a conspiracy among his followers, who had seized one
of the ships, had stored provisions and water on board, and were just
about to set sail for Cuba. One of the traitors repented of the part
he had taken in the plot, betrayed it to Cortés, and thus made evident
the extent of the conspiracy. In consequence, the ringleaders were
hanged, and the Spanish commander determined to take the bold step of
destroying the ships without the knowledge of his army. Accordingly he
marched his entire force to Cempoalla, where he told his plan to a few
of his devoted adherents, who approved of it. Nine of the ships were
sunk; after the sails, masts, iron, and all movable fittings had been
brought ashore.

When this act became known, it caused the greatest consternation among
the Spaniards. They murmured loudly, and mutiny was threatened. Cortés,
however, was equal to the emergency. He managed to reassure them, to
persuade them that he had only done what was best for them, and so
cleverly told them of the fame and treasure which they were on the eve
of gaining, that not one of them accepted the chance of returning to
Cuba in the remaining ship.

August the sixteenth, 1519, was a day ushered in by brilliant sunshine,
as if the fates were friendly to the daring Spanish adventurer. Cortés
was now ready to advance into the interior, for he had obtained from
the cacique of Cempoalla, thirteen hundred warriors and a thousand
porters to carry his baggage and drag onward the guns. His own force
amounted to four hundred foot and fifteen horses, with seven pieces of
artillery. Surely a small and insignificant army with which to attempt
to conquer this vast and populous land!

The army set out upon its mission of conquest, and, at the close of the
second day, reached Xalapa, a mountain town, and from which they looked
back upon one of the grandest views which they had ever seen. Around
were towering mountains; below lay the flat region, a gay confusion
of meadows, streams, and flowering forests, with now and again a tiny
Indian village dotting the brilliant landscape. Far, far away, to the
eastward, was a faint line of light upon the horizon, which told them
that there rolled the ocean which they had lately crossed, and beyond
which slumbered their country, which many never expected to see again.
To the south a mighty mountain, called “Orizaba,” poked its head into
the air, covered with a mantle of snow; while toward the southwest the
Sierra Madre, with a dark belt of pine trees waving in the breeze,
stretched with a long line of shadowy hills into the distance.

Onward and upward crawled the little army, pushing and jerking the guns
over the rocks and crevices, and finally, on the fourth day, arrived at
the town of Naulinco. The Indian inhabitants entertained the soldiers
with great hospitality, for they were friendly with the Totonacs.

Cortés endeavored to persuade them to give up their savage idol
worship, and, through a priest, Father Almedo, had them instructed
in the teachings of Christianity and had a cross erected for future

The troops pressed onward, entered a narrow, ragged valley, called “the
Bishop’s Pass,” and, as they toiled around a bare, volcanic mountain,
a snow-storm descended upon them with great violence. The Indians, who
were natives of the flat region, suffered dreadfully, and several of
them died by the way. The Spaniards, however, were protected by their
thick coats of cotton, and thus bore up well beneath the change of

For three days the little band pressed forward over the rugged mountain
trail,—then emerged into an open country with a more genial climate.
They had reached the great table-land which spreads out for hundreds of
miles along the crests of the mountains, more than seven thousand feet
above the level of the sea. Carefully cultivated fields of corn lay
around them, and, as they trudged forward, they came upon a populous
city made of substantial buildings of stone and of lime.

The army rested here for four or five days and then went on through a
broad valley shaded by lofty trees and watered by a splendid river. An
unbroken line of Indian dwellings extended for several leagues, and, on
a knoll, stood a town of four to five thousand inhabitants, commanded
by a fortress with walls and trenches. The army halted here and the
troops were met with friendly treatment.

As the soldiers refreshed themselves, Cortés made inquiries concerning
the route which he was to follow. The Indians, who were traveling
with him, told him to go through Tlascala: a small republic which had
always managed to maintain its independence against Mexican arms. The
tribesmen had been friendly with the Totonac allies of the Spaniards,
and had the reputation of being frank, fearless, and trustworthy.

Cortés decided to attempt to gain their good will, so he dispatched
four or five of his principal Cempoallan allies to the Tlascalan
capital with a cap of crimson cloth and a sword and cross-bow, as
gifts. They were to ask permission to pass through the land and were
to express admiration for the valor and the courage of the Tlascalans
in resisting the Aztecs for such a long time. Three days after the
departure of these envoys, the army resumed its march.

At last they reached the border of the Tlascalan territory, and were
much surprised to find a strong fortification in their path. This was a
stone wall nine feet high and twenty feet thick, with a parapet a foot
and a half broad at the top, for the protection of those who defended
the causeway. It had only one opening in the center, made by two
semi-circular lines of wall which overlapped each other. As it extended
for more than two miles and was built of natural blocks of stone, it
could be easily seen, that, had the Tlascalans cared to dispute the
passage of the Spanish invaders, not only would they have inflicted
great damage upon them, but would undoubtedly have forced them to
retire towards the sea-coast.

Fortune favored the Spanish command. No Tlascalans were there to hurl
javelins and arrows into their ranks, so they pressed onward towards
the capital.

“Tlascala” means the land of bread. The Tlascalans were an
agricultural people and their country was very fertile. They had
previously lived upon the western shore of Lake Tezcuco, a part of
Mexico which was not very productive; but their neighbors had driven
them from their original holdings and were now very jealous of their
prosperity: so jealous, in fact, that the Tlascalans repeatedly had
to defend themselves against their attacks. Montezuma, himself, had
endeavored to conquer them, but they had defeated an army sent against
them and commanded by the Emperor’s favorite son. This had highly
enraged the great ruler and he repeatedly harassed them with his
troops, so that they were certainly glad to see some one journey to
their land with whom they could ally themselves. They had heard about
the Spaniards and their victorious advance, but they had not expected
that they would venture their way. They were therefore much embarrassed
when they saw the white-skinned strangers at their very gates, and
demanding a passage through the fertile agricultural regions which they
had so often defended with their lives.

While the Tlascalan chiefs were in the council chamber, trying to
make up their minds what to do, Cortés and his men were advancing
through their country. As they threaded their way through a steep
gorge, they saw before them a small party of Indians armed with swords
and bucklers. They fled as the Spaniards approached, but the men
from Castile spurred their horses, and overtook them. As they were
endeavoring to parley with them, the Indians turned and furiously
assaulted those in armor. A stiff fight ensued and the native force
would soon have been cut to pieces had not a body of several thousand
Indians appeared, who rushed to their rescue. Cortés hastily dispatched
a messenger to bring up his infantry and stood off the overwhelming
masses of the enemy as best he could. The Indians fought like tigers,
dragged to the ground one cavalier, who afterwards died of his wounds,
and killed two horses by cutting through their necks with great
broadswords. This was a serious loss to the Spaniards, as their steeds
were very few, and they needed them, not only for battle, but also for
hauling their possessions over the rough mountain trails.

Arrows were whizzing fast around the ears of the horsemen in the
advance, when the infantry approached. Hastily falling into position,
the soldiers delivered a volley from their crossbows, which not only
astonished the enemy, but threw them into great confusion. The natives
soon beat a hasty retreat, and the road towards the Tlascalan capital
was left open to the adventurers.

This was not the only battle with the Tlascalans. Several other bands
of natives were defeated as the Spanish pressed forward, so that, when
the daring Cortés sent an embassy to the Tlascalan capital, his men
received a most respectful hearing from the dejected natives, A free
passage through the Tlascalan possessions was offered to these white
gods and they were furnished with food.

Meanwhile, what of Montezuma?

As the terrible strangers advanced towards his capital, news of all of
their doings had been faithfully reported to him by his runners, or
messengers. He learned, with dismay, that these fair-skinned soldiers
were defeating all of the natives that were sent against them. He saw
that they were practically invincible, and that, before very long,
they would be knocking at the very gates of his capital. With great
satisfaction he had heard of their taking the road through the land
of the Tlascalans, for he knew these Indians to be fiercely warlike,
and he hoped that the white gods (so called) were only mortal men, and
would prove to be no match for the natives who had defeated his own
best troops. Alas! He now learned that even these gallant warriors had
succumbed to the prowess of the strangers.

In his alarm and uncertainty, he dispatched five great nobles of
his court, attended by two hundred slaves, to bear to Cortés a gift
consisting of three thousand ounces of gold and several hundred robes
of cotton and of feather-work.

The Spanish leader received the fawning natives with respectful
attention. They laid the gifts at his feet and told him that they had
come to offer him Montezuma’s congratulations upon his many victories.
They also stated that they wished to express their regret that the
Emperor could not receive them at the capital, for his own population
was so unruly, that, should they enter the city, he could not answer
for their safety. He therefore respectfully requested Cortés to retire
to the sea-coast.

“I wish to express my greatest respect for Montezuma,” replied the
artful Cortés, “and I wish that I could do as he desires. But I have
received commands from my own sovereign to visit the City of Mexico,
and it would go ill with me should I disobey the desires of the mighty
Monarch of Spain. Tell the great and powerful Montezuma that I will
some day repay him for his wonderful presents. And tell him, also, that
I will be soon at the gates of Mexico City, where I hope to be received
in a style befitting the Monarch whom I represent.”

The Mexican ambassadors withdrew, but they were sadly displeased
with the turn which matters were taking. They saw a firm friendship
established between the Tlascalans—their mortal enemies—and the
dreaded Spaniards. They also saw that nothing could deter the white
men from coming forward. So, with gloomy faces and lowered eyes, they
departed for the City of Mexico.

The Spanish troops were well treated by the Tlascalans, who feasted
and entertained them in the four quarters of their city. But amid all
these friendly demonstrations the General never relaxed, for a second,
the discipline of the camp, and no soldier was allowed to leave his
quarters without special permission.

Montezuma, meanwhile, had received the message from the doughty Spanish
invader and was more frightened than even before. Had he exhibited
a good fighting spirit, and had he been determined to expel the
Spaniards, he could have raised a hundred thousand fighting men to
overwhelm them as they advanced upon his capital. But he was lacking in
resolution. Deep in his soul he had a suspicion that Cortes was really
the god Quetzalcoatl, come back again to Mexico in order to bring
peace and prosperity with him. In his heart he feared, that, should he
kill the invader, he would be sacrificing one of the gods. And thus he
vacillated, hesitated, and, at length, seeing that he could not buy off
the invader with money, or frighten him by means of threats, determined
to conciliate him. So he sent word that he invited the Spaniards to
visit him in his capital, and requested them to take a route through
the friendly city of Cholula, where arrangements were being made, by
his orders, for their reception. He also besought Cortés to make no
alliance with the Tlascalans; whom he called base, treacherous, and

But now came startling events, yet events which pleased the daring
Cortés greatly, for the conqueror was never so happy as when in the
thick of fighting.

After a short consultation among the officers, the Spanish army moved
forward on the road to Cholula. It was an ancient and populous place,
six leagues to the south of Tlascala. Its inhabitants excelled in
the art of working in metals, and in manufacturing cotton cloth and
delicate pottery. They were not as bloodthirsty as the surrounding
tribes, but were distinguished more for the skill in the arts than
for their warlike attainments. Here it is supposed that the god
Quetzalcoatl had paused on his way to the coast, many years before,
and to his honor a great pyramid had been erected, upon which was a
gorgeous temple and a statue of the fair-skinned god, bedecked with
gold and with jewels.

Six thousand Tlascalan warriors allied themselves with Cortés in his
march towards the capital. As the troops drew near the town of Cholula
they were met by swarms of men, women, and children, all eager to catch
a glimpse of these wonderful strangers. An immense number of priests,
swinging censers, mingled with the crowd, and, as the Spaniards moved
onward, they were decorated with garlands of flowers; while musicians
filled the air with strange, melodious symphonies. The strangers were
given lodgings in the court of one of the many _teocallis_ and were
well supplied with provisions.

All seemed to be going well, and the Spaniards were highly pleased
with their reception, but soon the scene changed. Messengers arrived
from Montezuma, who told Cortés that his approach occasioned much
disquietude to their royal master. They hinted that he would not be
well received, and then had a separate conference with the Cholulans.
When they departed they took one of them off with them. The Cholulans
now kept away from the Spanish camp, and, when pressed for an
explanation, made many excuses, saying that they were ill. The supply
of provisions ran short, and, when asked to bring more corn, the
Indians answered that they were unable to do so, as it was very scarce.

The doughty General of the Spanish forces became alarmed at this sudden
change. His allies, the Cempoallans, now told him, that, in wandering
about the city, they had seen several streets barricaded, and, in some
places, they saw where holes had been dug and a sharp stake planted
upright in each. Branches had been strewn over these pits in order to
conceal them. They also announced that the flat roofs of the houses
were being stored with stones and with other missiles.

Cortés prepared for an attack, particularly as his Tlascalan
allies announced, that, in a far distant quarter of the town, a
number of children had been sacrificed to the war god: the mighty
Huitzilopochtli. They reported, too, that numbers of the people had
taken their wives and children out of the city, as if to get away from
the battle which was imminent.

Shortly after this, Marina made a discovery which proved that the
Spaniards were in a most precarious position. The wife of one of the
Cholulan caciques had taken a great fancy to the Mexican girl, and had
continually urged her to visit her house; hinting, rather carefully and
very mysteriously, that she would, in this way, escape a great danger
which threatened the Spaniards. Marina appeared to be delighted with
this proposal, and pretended to be glad to have a chance of escaping
from the white men. She, at length, won the confidence of the Cholulan
lady, who revealed the entire plot to her, a plot which had originated
with Montezuma, and by which he hoped to get rid of these terrible

A force of twenty thousand Mexicans, said the wife of the cacique,
were already near the city, and were to fall upon the Spaniards and
their allies as they left. They were to be assisted by the Cholulans,
who had stored great quantities of rocks and arrows to hurl upon the
unsuspecting white men as they defiled along the roadway leading to the
City of Mexico. After the fair-faced strangers had been captured, some
were to be left with the Cholulans for sacrificial victims to their
gods; the rest were to be sent in chains to Montezuma.

Marina rushed to the gallant Cortés with the news of this impending
disaster to his army. The General at once ordered the cacique’s wife to
be seized, and she repeated to him the same story that she had told to
Marina. The Spanish leader was not slow to act. Two native priests were
immediately summoned into his presence, one of whom was a person of
much prominence. By courteous treatment and many presents, he secured
from them a complete confirmation of the story which Marina had told
him. There was no time to be lost and Cortés was a man of action.

Sending for the more prominent Cholulans, Cortés asked them to supply
him with two thousand porters, next morning, as he had determined to
move his army away from the town, and would need this many additional
men, in order to transport his luggage and the many presents which had
been given to him. After some consultation, the chiefs decided to give
him this number of men, as it would assist them in their own plan of
annihilating the invaders of their country. But Cortés had made up his
mind how to act, and intended to annihilate the Cholulans when once
he had them in his power. Night fell upon the city and every Spanish
soldier lay down fully armed. The sentinels were doubled, but all
remained quiet.

When the first streak of dawn reddened the east, next morning, Cortés
was ahorse, and was directing the movements of his little band of
heroic Spaniards. He placed the greater portion of his small force in
the large oblong court in the center of the town. These were lined up
in a hollow square, facing the center, all fully armed, with pouches
filled with bullets, and quite ready for anything that might occur. A
strong guard was placed at each of the three gates leading from the
town, and a number of the best soldiers were stationed in charge of
the cannon, which were pointed so as to command all the more prominent
roads leading to the center of the native stronghold.

Hardly had this disposition of the troops been made than the Cholulan
caciques arrived, bringing a much larger body of porters than Cortés
had demanded. They were placed within the hollow square formed by the
Castilian infantry.

The Spanish leader now took the caciques aside and said in a stern tone:

“Know, O Chiefs, that I have learned of your conspiracy to destroy me
and my followers. I am fully aware that you intend to fall upon me
and my men when we leave town, and I am determined to deal a just and
summary vengeance upon you.”

The Cholulans were thunderstruck, and gazed with awe upon these
strangers, who seemed to have the power of reading their inmost
thoughts. They made no attempt to deny the accusation, but tried to
excuse themselves by throwing the blame upon Montezuma.

“The great Emperor made us do it,” said they.

“I do not care whether he made you do it or not,” answered the
irritated leader of these Spanish conquerors. “For daring to think that
you could capture and defeat me and my men, I will put you all to
death, so that it will teach any others who may have designs upon my
person, in the future, to leave me alone. ‘Fire!’”

As he spoke a cannon growled out an ominous roar. It was the signal for
which the Spanish soldiers had been anxiously awaiting.

In an instant the muskets and crossbows were leveled at the startled
Cholulans, as they stood crowded together in the center of the market
place. A crash of firearms,—and many of them lay groaning upon the
pavement. Then, with a fierce and vindictive yell, the Spanish soldiers
rushed at the natives with their swords, and mowed them down as they
stood. The Indians had heard nothing of what was going on, and offered
but slight resistance to the armored men of Castile.

Wild shrieks and yells arose above the din of firearms, as the massacre
took place, and, attracted by the noise, the Cholulans from outside
began a furious assault upon the Spanish soldiers. The heavy cannon
opened fire upon them as they approached, and, when they advanced in
close formation, many were swept off their feet. The cavalrymen now
charged into their midst and hewed a passageway of blood in the lane of
human beings. The Tlascalan allies of the Spaniards fell upon the rear
of the battling Cholulans. Thus, harassed upon every side, the Cholulan
townsfolk could no longer maintain their ground. They fled, some to the
buildings nearby, others to the temples of the gods.

Headed by several priests, one strong body of fugitives ran to the
largest of all the temples, the great _teocalli_. As the Spaniards
came storming up the steps, these rained down stones, javelins, and
burning arrows upon them. In spite of this shower of missiles, the
soldiers pressed hard upon the heels of the fugitives, set fire to
the wooden tower, and cheered wildly when they saw the natives throw
themselves headlong from the parapet.

All was confusion and slaughter in the city of Cholula. The Spaniards
and Tlascalans plundered and burned wherever they went, and, as the
Tlascalans seemed only to want clothes and provisions, the adventurers
under Cortés secured all the gold and jewels that they cared to have.
Thus fire, plunder, and murder went on for many hours, until the
General yielded to the entreaties of the Cholulan chiefs, who had
been saved from the massacre, and, calling off his men, put an end to
further violence. By degrees the tumult was appeased. The terrible
vengeance of the invaders made a great impression upon the natives,
but no one trembled more than did Montezuma on his throne within the

The Mexican Emperor, in fact, felt his empire melting away from him.
His former vassals, on every hand, were sending envoys to the Spanish
camp to tender their allegiance to the crown of Castile, and to
attempt to secure the favor of the conqueror by rich gifts of gold
and of slaves. Montezuma made up his mind to send another embassy to
Cortés, the members of which were to impress upon him the fact that the
Emperor had nothing to do with the conspiracy at Cholula. The envoys
carried splendid presents of golden vessels and ornaments, including
artificial birds made in imitation of turkeys with their plumage worked
in gold, and also fifteen hundred robes of delicate cotton cloth. When
they spoke to Cortés they told him that Montezuma had no knowledge
of the plot to attack the Spaniards after they had left the town of
Cholula and that the Aztec force had been sent there, not to assist
in annihilating the Spaniards, but to quell a disturbance in the

Cortés, who was not fooled by this series of lies by Montezuma,
remained quietly in the confines of Cholula. He restored the city again
to order, seized upon the great temple, or _teocalli_, of which all the
woodwork had been burned, and built a church out of the stones which
remained. He also opened the cages in which hundreds of captives were
kept until the day should come when they were to be sacrificed. After
this had been done, he called up the chiefs of his Tlascalan allies,
told them that the armies would now march toward the City of Mexico,
and, upon the day following, set his own troops in motion.

He moved slowly, and soon was met by another embassy from the Emperor,
consisting of several Aztec noblemen who brought a rich gift, indeed,
and also a message from the trembling Montezuma to the effect that he
would give four loads of gold to the General, each year, and one load
to each of his Captains, if he would turn back from the city and would
leave him alone. Cortés was surprised at this show of weakness and also
pleased that the Aztec sovereign did not attack him. He replied that
he could not return to the King of Spain without first visiting the
Emperor at his capital.

“We Spaniards,” said he, “are advancing in a spirit of peace, and wish
to be courteously received. If, after a short stay, you find our visit
burdensome, it is very easy for you to notify us that our presence in
your beautiful city is no longer desired.”

The ambassador reported this answer to Montezuma, who called a council
of his chief advisors to determine what was now to be done. A great
difference of opinion arose. Cacama, the Emperor’s nephew, counseled
him to receive the Spaniards courteously, as the ambassadors of a
foreign prince; while his brother, Cuilahua, urged him to muster all
his fighting men and to drive back the invaders, or die in the defense
of his capital.

Torn with doubt and distress, the Emperor did not know which way to
turn. It would not have been impossible to strike the invaders with his
warriors, but Montezuma feared these white-skinned travelers as he had
never before feared any enemy.

“Of what avail is resistance,” said he, “when the gods have declared
themselves against us? I must face the storm as best I may. I see my
empire crumbling to dust before these invaders, and I am prepared to
fight only when I see that I cannot rid myself of them by peaceful

Thus, trusting that he would eventually free himself from this menacing
band, Montezuma awaited the entry of the Spaniards into the city.

The followers of Cortés, with their Tlascalan allies, now marched
along the southern shores of Lake Chalco, through forests of
strange-looking trees, such as they had never seen before, and orchards
growing with unknown fruits. At length they came to a great dike, or
causeway, four or five miles in length, which divided Lake Chalco, from
Xochicalco, on the west. It was sufficiently wide, in some parts, for
eight horsemen to ride abreast; and was solidly built of stone and of
lime. At its narrowest part it was only a lance’s length in breadth.

From the causeway the army descended upon a narrow point which lay
between the two lakes, and, quickly crossing over this, reached the
royal residence at Iztapalapan, a place governed by Montezuma’s
brother. Here Cortés was presented with gifts of gold and costly
stuffs, and then the Spaniards were led into the gorgeous halls of
the palace, the roof of which was of odorous cedar wood, while the
stone walls were hung with brilliant tapestries. Here, also, the army
rested for an entire night, ready and prepared for the advance upon the
following morning into the sacred precincts ruled over by Montezuma.

Day dawned. As the sharp tones of the bugle woke the echoes in the
quaint Aztec village, the Spanish adventurers bestirred themselves,
formed in line of march, and followed by the dark horde of Tlascalan
warriors, advanced upon the capital. Cortés’ force was not more than
seven thousand in all, and of this number less than four hundred were
Spaniards. The adventure seemed foolhardy indeed. How could four
hundred Spaniards hope to conquer an entire country?

At the distance of half a mile from the capital the invaders
encountered a solid fortification, like a great curtain of stone, which
was built across the dike. It was twelve feet high, and had a tower
on each end; in the center was a battlement-gateway through which the
troops passed. This was the fort of Xoloc, and here the Spaniards were
met by several hundred Aztec chiefs. After the usual salutations, the
march was resumed, and the army reached a wooden drawbridge which
crossed an opening in the dike. As the soldiers left it, they realized
that they were in the power of Montezuma, for, had he so wished, he
could cut them off from communication with the country, and hold them
prisoners in his capital.

But now the Emperor Montezuma, himself, approached. A crowd of Indian
nobles surrounded him, and he was preceded by his officers of state,
bearing golden wands. Reclining upon the royal palanquin, blazing
with burnished gold, he was borne aloft by four attendants, who were
barefooted, and who walked with a slow, measured pace, their eyes bent
upon the ground. Montezuma wore a square cloak of the finest cotton, on
his feet were sandals with soles of gold, and both cloak and sandals
were sprinkled with pearls and with precious stones. On his head was a
plume of royal green feathers, the badge of his military rank. He was
at this time about forty years of age, was tall and thin, and lighter
in color than most of his countrymen.

The Emperor received Cortés with princely courtesy, and appointed his
brother to conduct the Spaniards to their quarters. The adventurers
followed their guide, and, with colors flying and with music playing,
entered the southern portion of the Aztec capital. As they proceeded,
they crossed many bridges which spanned the canals, and at length
halted in a wide, open space, near the center of the city and close to
the temple of the war god. Here were a number of low, stone buildings,
once a palace belonging to the Emperor’s father, but now to become the
lodging of the Spaniards.

After a rapid survey the General assigned the troops to their
respective quarters. He planted his cannon so as to command the
approaches to the palace, stationed sentinels along the walls, and
ordered that no soldier should leave his quarters under pain of death.
When all these precautions had been taken, he allowed his men to enjoy
the banquet prepared for them.

Not long after this, Montezuma came to visit the fair-skinned
strangers, and was received with great courtesy by Cortés, who had the
faithful Marina to interpret for him. The Emperor made many inquiries
concerning the country of the Spaniards, and particularly asked why
Cortés and his men had visited Mexico.

“We have desired to see you,” answered the General, “and to declare to
you the true faith which we, as Christians, believe. We think that your
own worship is most pernicious, and we do not approve of the many human
sacrifices which you are continually making to your gods. We therefore
pray that you give up the worship of idols, adopt the faith of Jesus
Christ, and cease to tear out the hearts of poor human beings as a
sacrifice in your temples.”

The Emperor smiled at the reference to the ancient customs of the
Aztecs, and made many inquiries concerning the rank of the cavaliers in
their own country and their positions in the army. He then commanded a
gift of cotton robes to be distributed among the Spaniards and their
Tlascalan allies, and returned to his own palace. When he had departed,
Cortés ordered a general discharge of his artillery, so as to impress
the natives with his power. The noise of the guns and the smoke filled
the Aztecs with alarm and dismay, and put them in great fear of these
strangers from another country.

Cortés had several other audiences with the Aztec ruler, who seemed to
wish to treat these adventurers with kindness and consideration; but
the Spanish general was harassed by many doubts. He was in the heart of
a great capital, with dikes and drawbridges on every side, which might
be converted into serious obstacles against him and his men, should
the Aztecs determine to crush the small Spanish army. At a nod from
the mighty Montezuma all communication with the rest of the country
would be cut off, and the whole population would be immediately hurled
upon him and his handful of followers. Against such odds, of what
avail would be his armor, his muskets, and his cannon? Montezuma had a
thousand warriors to his one. His best policy, therefore, seemed to be
to keep up the superstitious reverence in which he seemed to be held
by both the Emperor and his people, and to find out all that he could
about the city and its inhabitants. Then, should the opportunity occur,
he would seize the chief power for himself.

Next day the General asked the Emperor’s permission to visit the
principal public buildings and received a willing assent. Putting
himself at the head of his cavalry, and, followed by nearly all of his
foot soldiers, he set out, under the guidance of several caciques, to
view more closely what he had only seen at a distance. He was led to
the great _teocalli_ of the god of war, Huitzilopochtli, which stood
in an open court surrounded by a wall of stone and lime, about eight
feet high, and ornamented by raised figures of serpents, so that it was
called the “wall of serpents.” It was pierced by huge gateways, opening
upon the four principal streets of the city, and over each gate was an
arsenal filled with arms and other warlike gear.

The Spanish visitors climbed up the flights of steps and reached the
great paved space at the summit, where was a huge, round stone upon
which the victims were stretched before their hearts were cut out to
propitiate the feelings of the great god. At the other end of the
platform stood two towers, each three stories in height, in which were
the images of the gods.

Montezuma came forward to receive Cortés and conducted him into the
first tower, at the end of which, in a huge recess, stood a colossal
stone image of Huitzilopochtli, the god of war. In his right hand he
held a bow: in his left a bunch of golden arrows. The second sanctuary
was dedicated to Tezcatlepoco, who was believed to have created the
earth and to watch over it. He was represented as a young man, although
his image was made of polished, black stone, garnished with gold plates
and with ornaments. A shield, burnished like a mirror, was upon one
arm; and in this was supposed to be reflected the doings of the world.

On descending again to the courtyard, the cavaliers took a careful look
at the other buildings in the inclosure, and saw, to their horror, a
great mound with a timber framework upon its summit, along which were
strung hundreds of thousands of skulls: those of the many victims which
had been sacrificed. The rest of the space was filled with schools,
granaries and gardens. Several fountains, spouting crystal streams
of water, played gracefully in the clear air. It was a combination
of barbarism and civilization which was quite characteristic of the
Mexican people.

Upon the day following, the Spaniards asked permission to convert one
of the halls in their palace into a chapel where they could hold the
services of their church, and Montezuma readily granted their request.
While the work was in progress, a young cavalier discovered what
seemed to be a door which had only recently been plastered over. There
was a rumor that Montezuma kept the treasures of his father in this
place, so, to satisfy their eager curiosity, the plaster was knocked
away. Sure enough, a doorway was beyond the plaster, and, pushing this
aside, a great hall was disclosed, filled with all manner of rich and
beautiful stuffs. There were also much gold and silver in bars, and
many jewels of inestimable value. Some thought that all the riches in
the world were in that room. Afraid to touch it, then, by command of
the General, the wall was again built up, and strict orders were given
that the discovery must be kept a profound secret.

Time was passing and Cortés grew somewhat worried over his position.
Some of his officers were for an immediate retreat. Some, and these
were in the majority, were well satisfied with the plan which their
General now disclosed to them, which was: to march to the royal palace,
and by persuasion, or force, to induce Montezuma to take up his abode
in the Spanish quarters. When they had taken possession of his person,
it would be easy to rule in his name, until they had made their
position secure. Then, too, reënforcements might reach them at any time.

An excuse soon offered itself, for two of the Spaniards were
treacherously murdered by the Aztecs, when upon a journey to Vera Cruz,
and this was sufficient pretext to seize the person of the Emperor.
Having asked for an audience with Montezuma, which was granted, the
Spanish adventurer immediately made the necessary arrangements for
this hazardous enterprise. The principal part of his force was drawn
up in the courtyard, next day, but one detachment was stationed in the
avenue leading to the palace, so that no rescue could be attempted by
the citizens. Twenty-five or thirty soldiers were ordered to drop into
the palace by twos and by threes, as if accidentally, and Cortés was
accompanied by five cavaliers upon whose courage and coolness he could
perfectly rely. All were in full mail and were armed to the teeth.

Montezuma seemed to be in great good spirits when the Spaniards
arrived, and paid Cortés the compliment of offering him one of his
daughters in marriage; an honor which the general most respectfully
declined, because of the fact that he already had one wife. Not long
after this he saw that all of his soldiers were ready, and, turning to
Montezuma, asked him why the Aztecs had murdered his two soldiers at
Vera Cruz. The Emperor listened to him with great surprise, and said
that such an act had never been by his direction.

“I care not whether you ordered this massacre or not,” replied Cortés,
“this native chief, Quanhpopoca, whose men killed my soldiers, must be
sent for at once, so that I may deal with him as he deserves.”

Montezuma agreed to this, and, taking his royal signet ring from his
finger, gave it to one of his nobles, with orders to show it to the
Aztec governor and require his immediate presence in the capital. In
case he resisted, the bearer was to call in the aid of the neighboring
towns and their fighting men.

The messenger had soon disappeared, and Cortés assured the smiling
Montezuma that he was now perfectly convinced of his innocence in the
matter, but that it was quite necessary that his own sovereign should
be assured of it. Nothing could therefore be better than that Montezuma
should transfer his residence to the palace occupied by the Spaniards,
as this would show a personal regard for the Spanish monarch which
would free him from all suspicion.

To this proposal Montezuma listened with the greatest amazement, and
then exclaimed, with resentment and offended dignity:

“When was it that a great prince like myself willingly left his own
palace to become a prisoner in the hands of strangers?”

“You will not go as a prisoner,” replied the artful Cortés, “but will
simply be changing your residence.”

“If I should consent to such a degradation,” cried Montezuma,
wrathfully, “my subjects never would.”

But Cortés was obdurate and insisted that the Aztec should go, in spite
of the fact that the Emperor offered him one of his sons and two of his
daughters as hostages, so that he might be spared this disgrace. Thus
two hours passed by in a fruitless discussion.

Finally Velasquez de Leon, one of the cavaliers, who was impatient at
the long delay, cried out in loud tones:

“Why do we waste words on this barbarian? Let us seize him, and, if he
resists, let us plunge our swords into his body!”

The fierce tones of the man in armor, coupled with his menacing
gesture, alarmed Montezuma, who asked Marina what the angry Spaniard
had remarked. The Mexican girl explained, as gently as she could, what
had been said, then besought him to accompany the white men, who would
surely treat him with respect and kindness.

“If you refuse,” she whispered, “you will, perhaps, be killed.”

As she said this, the Emperor shuddered, and, looking around for some
sympathetic glance, saw only the stern faces and mail-clad forms of
the Spaniards. He felt that, should he refuse, he would be immediately

“I will go with you, Malinche,” said he, in a scarcely audible voice.
“Bring forward the royal litter!”

As the Aztec retinue marched dejectedly down the avenue to the Spanish
quarters, the people crowded together, crying out that Montezuma had
been carried off by force.

“Disperse, subjects!” cried the Emperor. “I am visiting my friends of
my own accord.”

The crowd remained quiet, and, on reaching the Spanish quarters,
Montezuma sent out his nobles to the mob with similar assurances, and
bade them all return to their homes.

The Spaniards received him with great respect and allowed him to choose
his own apartments, which were speedily furnished with tapestry,
feather-work, and all other Indian luxuries. Yet it was only too clear
to the Aztecs themselves that their honored Emperor was a prisoner, as
by day and night the palace was guarded by sixty sentinels, both in
the front and in the rear, while yet another body was stationed in the
royal antechamber.

In a day or two, the native chief, Quanhpopoca, arrived from the
coast. He was asked by Cortés why he had made an attack upon his
soldiers, and, as he could make no satisfactory reply, was immediately
condemned to be burned to death. Montezuma made no objection to this,
so a funeral pile was erected in the courtyard before the palace, and
upon this the chief and his attendants were burned. Just before the
execution took place, Cortés entered the Emperor’s apartment, followed
by a soldier bearing fetters in his hands. The Spanish general accused
Montezuma of having been the instigator of this treacherous deed, and
said that a crime which merited death in a subject, must be likewise
atoned for by a king. With this, he ordered the soldier to fasten the
fetters upon Montezuma’s ankles, and, after coolly waiting until this
was done, turned his back upon the outraged Aztec Emperor, and quitted
the room.

After the execution was over Cortés came in and unclasped the irons
with his own hands. Montezuma thanked him as if he had received some
great and unmerited favor.

Not long after this the Spanish commander told Montezuma that he could
return to his own quarters. But the Emperor declined to go back, for,
realizing how his conduct must be viewed by the great nobles of his
Empire, he decided that his life was safer with the Spaniards than with
them. Although he had thus resigned himself, without a fight, to a
life of captivity, some of his kinsmen were determined to rescue their
Emperor from the clutches of these fair-skinned invaders. His nephew,
Cacama, lord of the Tezcuco, was especially incensed at the method by
which Montezuma had been stolen, and tried to stir up the Aztecs to
make an attack upon the Spanish robbers. Actuated by jealousy, the
other nobles refused to join Cacama, declaring themselves unwilling to
do anything without the Emperor’s sanction.

Cortés heard of this, and wished to march at once upon Tezcuco, in
order to stamp out the spark of rebellion, but Montezuma persuaded
him to get hold of Cacama personally, and to make away with him.
Cacama was enticed into a villa overhanging the lake, where he was
overpowered, forced into a boat, and speedily brought to Mexico City.
Here he was fettered and imprisoned. His kingdom was given to his
brother,—a mere boy,—to reign in his stead.

Now Cortés felt himself powerful enough to demand that Montezuma and
all his nobles should formally swear allegiance to the King and Queen
of Spain. He accordingly requested the Emperor to call together his
principal caciques, and, when they were gathered together, Montezuma
addressed them as follows:

“You all know, O caciques, our ancient tradition, how the Great Being
who once ruled over the land, declared that he would one day return and
reign again. That time has now arrived. The white men have come from
the land beyond the sea, sent by their master to reclaim the obedience
of his ancient subjects. I am ready, for my part, to acknowledge his
authority. You have been faithful vassals of mine all through the
years that I have sat upon the throne of my father; I now expect that
you will show me a last act of obedience, by acknowledging the great
King beyond the waters to be your lord also, and that you will pay him
tribute as you have hitherto done to me.”

As he spoke, the tears fell fast down his cheeks, and his nobles were
deeply affected by the sight of his distress. Many of these fierce
fighting-men had come from a great distance, and had no idea of what
was going on in the capital. Hence they were filled with astonishment
at seeing the voluntary submission of their master to this mere
handful of Spanish soldiers. They had always reverenced him as their
all powerful lord, and, therefore, were willing to obey him and to
swear allegiance to the white men’s sovereign. Accordingly the oaths
were administered, with due solemnity, and a full record of these
proceedings was drawn up by the royal notary to be sent to Spain.

The Spanish explorer had now gained the greatest object of the
expedition, but in the conversion of the natives to Christianity he
seemed to have made little progress, and the horrible sacrifices, where
human hearts were torn from the breasts of captives, were occurring
every day. What could be done? With the blatant disregard for the
sentiments of the natives that had always characterized his actions,
Cortés determined to hold the services of the church in the temple of
the great god, Huitzilopochtli, and notified Montezuma to this effect.
The Emperor listened in great consternation.

“Malinche,” said he, “why will you push matters to an extremity that
will surely bring down the vengeance of our gods and stir up an
insurrection amongst my people? They will never endure this profanation
of their temple. Do not attempt to destroy their gods, for, if you do
so, you will be driven from the land by the enfuriated populace.”

In spite of what the weak-minded ruler had said, Cortés decided to hold
the services of the church in one of the sanctuaries of the famous
temple, which was dedicated to the fearful god of war. Consequently,
the whole army moved, one day, in a solemn procession up the winding
ascent to the pyramid, and mass was celebrated by Father Almedo. The
Aztecs crowded around in order to view this ceremony, and looked on
with repugnance plainly showing in their dark faces.

As Montezuma had prophesied, the Mexican people were greatly outraged
by this profanation of their temple, and many conferences now took
place between the Emperor and the nobles. After several weeks, Cortés
received a summons to appear before the Aztec chief, who said, in
rather apologetic tones:

“What I told you in connection with the insult to our gods has come to
pass. The gods are offended and they threaten to forsake our city if
you and your men are not driven from it. If you regard your safety, you
will leave the country without delay. I have only to lift my finger and
every Aztec in the land will rise against you.”

“I shall greatly regret to say good-bye to your capital,” Cortés
answered. “I cannot leave your country, for I have no ships in which to
sail. Besides, if I am driven out, I shall have to take you with me.”

Montezuma, although troubled with this last suggestion, offered to send
workmen to the coast to assist the Spaniards in building ships. In the
interim he assured the populace that the white men would leave in a
very few weeks. Cortés, meanwhile, sent word to delay the construction
of ships as long as possible, for he hoped, in the meantime, to receive
reënforcements from Spain, so that he could hold his ground. The
Spaniards were now thoroughly frightened, for they were surrounded by
hundreds of thousands of the enemy, and, should these break loose upon
them, they knew that they should have to fight for their lives.

This was the state of affairs, in May, 1520, after the Spaniards had
been six months in the country of Mexico. Then came an unexpected
thunderclap, for Cortés received word from the coast that the jealous
Governor of Cuba, hearing of his great success, was forwarding an
expedition to attack him. Think of it! To attack the one who had
accomplished that which he had been sent to accomplish!

The commander of this second expedition, Narváez, sent several of his
most trusted adherents to Villa Rica, where Cortés had left a body
of men under one Sandoval, to demand his capitulation. But, Sandoval
would hear nothing of this, and, binding the emissaries to the backs
of several sturdy porters, like bales of cotton, he sent them, under
guard, to Mexico City, where Cortés received them courteously. He
learned that the principal object of Narváez was the finding of gold,
and that the soldiers of this interloper had no particular regard for
their leader, as he was arrogant and by no means liberal.

The General decided that the only thing to do was to march against this
man, to defeat him, and to unite the new forces with his own. This he
did. The newcomer was captured, his troops willingly joined with the
followers of Cortés, and the bold Spaniard returned to Mexico City,
where he had left his Lieutenant Alvarado in command. But he found that
matters had gone very ill since his departure, and that insurrection
and bloodshed were rampant in the once quiet capital.

The General eagerly inquired what had transpired during his absence,
and found that Alvarado had acted in a manner that was not only
undiplomatic but also bloodthirsty. A few days after Cortés had
marched towards the coast, the Aztec festival of “The Incensing of
Huitzilopochtli” was celebrated, and, having asked permission to use
the _teocalli_, the Aztecs assembled to the number of at least six
hundred. The natives wore their magnificent gala attire, with mantles
of feather-work sprinkled with precious stones, and collars, bracelets,
and ornaments of gold. Alvarado and his men, fully armed, attended as
spectators, and, as the natives were engaged in one of their ceremonial
dances, fell upon them suddenly,—sword in hand. A great and dreadful
slaughter now followed, the Aztecs being hewn down without resistance.
Those who attempted to escape by climbing the wall of serpents, were
cut down to a man, until not a single one remained alive. The tidings
of this awful massacre flew instantly through the capital, and the
city rose in arms against these terrible invaders, who would do such a
dastardly deed.

The Spaniards made themselves secure in their citadel, but they were
attacked with the greatest fury. The works were undermined, and some
of the more courageous assailants set fire to the walls. Montezuma was
entreated to interfere, and, mounting the battlement, requested the
howling mob of Aztecs to desist from storming the fortress, out of
regard for his own safety. This they did, although a regular blockade
was begun, and high walls were thrown up around the citadel in order
to prevent the egress of the Spaniards. The Aztec warriors chanted
defiance at Alvarado and his men, while sullenly awaiting the time when
the Spaniards would be starved into submission.

Cortés was angered and ashamed at the action which his Lieutenant had
taken, and, calling him to him, roundly upbraided him for attacking the
natives in this brutal fashion. As an explanation for his atrocious
act, Alvarado declared that he had struck this blow in order to
intimidate the natives and crush an uprising which he had learned was
about to occur.

“You have done badly!” cried Cortés. “You have been false to your trust
and your conduct has been that of a madman!”

The Spanish commander lost his self-control for the first time, and
allowed his disgust and irritation to be plainly seen. He bitterly
regretted that he had entrusted so important a command to one who had
such a rash and cruel nature. But the deed was done. The Aztecs were
now in open revolt, and the Spaniards had to battle for their very
lives. The whole city was in arms, the drawbridges were raised, and the
enemy was collecting from every quarter.

As Cortés directed the troops within the citadel, to which he had had
to fight his way after the destruction of Narváez, he heard a long,
hoarse, sullen roar from the streets of the city. It became louder
and louder, until, as he stood upon the parapet and looked into the
distance, he could see dark masses of warriors rolling towards the
citadel in a confused tide, while the flat roofs of the houses nearby
were covered with swarms of menacing figures, who brandished their
weapons, and cried out with shrill voices: “Death to the invaders!
Death to the enemies of our gods! Death to the dogs from Spain!” The
great war drum upon the _teocalli_ rolled out a mournful and doleful
sound of battle, while gay banners fluttered from the serried ranks of
the approaching army.

On, on, came the wild Aztecs, their shrill yells sounding high above
the rolling of their rude drums, and, as they came within sight of the
Spanish quarters, they let loose a perfect tempest of stones, darts,
and arrows. At the same time those upon the roofs let drive a blinding
volley. The men under Cortés waited until the enemy were within a
hundred yards of the ancient palace, in which they had barricaded
themselves, and then thundered a return volley from their cannon and
guns. The first few ranks of the Aztec warriors were swept to the
ground, but, leaping over the prostrate bodies of the slain, the
great horde of fighting men came on. Soon some of the bolder warriors
succeeded in getting close enough to the wall to be sheltered by it
from the fire of the Spaniards, so they made a gallant yet futile
effort to scale the parapet. As soon as their heads appeared above
the ramparts, they were shot down, one after another, and fell to the
street below. Great piles of the slain lay heaped before the ancient
palace of the Montezumas.

Burning arrows were now shot upon the buildings in the courtyard, and
several of them took fire. So severe was the conflagration that a
part of the wall had to be thrown down, thus laying open a formidable
breach, which the Aztecs endeavored to storm. But cannon were
pointed at the spot, and a file of arquebusiers kept up an incessant
volley-fire through the opening, so that those who attempted to get
through were killed as fast as they reached the portal. All day long
the fight raged with fury, and, when night came, the Spaniards could
get no sleep, for they were in hourly expectation of a new attack.

Next morning the mournful war-drum again groaned out its call to the
battle, and again the serried ranks of the enfuriated Aztec warriors
came on to the attack. Showers of burning arrows, darts, and heavy
stones fell against the Spanish battlement, and the mass of warriors
struggled with renewed fury to gain possession of the breach. Cortés
ordered a sortie, hoping to drive this body of invaders away, but, when
the gates were thrown open and he dashed forward with the cavalry,
assisted by a large force of Tlascalans, the natives retreated behind
a barricade. Heavy guns were ordered up, and the barriers were
demolished; but, as he pressed the Aztecs backwards, so many came
in upon the flanks that he was forced to retreat. As the Spaniards
reëntered their fortress, pursued by a shower of darts and arrows, the
Indians once more closed around it, with menacing cries and insults.

“The gods have delivered you into our hands at last!” they called.
“Huitzilopochtli has long been crying for his victims, and the stone of
sacrifice is ever ready. Our knives are sharpened. The wild beasts in
the palace are roaring for their feast.”

Yet they cried piteously for Montezuma and entreated the Spaniards to
deliver him up to them.

“Oh, give us back our Emperor!” said they. “You have willfully and
falsely detained and imprisoned him!”

At this, Cortés determined to induce Montezuma to exert his authority,
in order to allay the tumult. So he requested the captive Emperor to
speak to the howling mob. Montezuma had soon arrayed himself in his
finest robes, and with a guard of Spaniards around him, and preceded by
an Aztec carrying a golden wand (the symbol of sovereignty) the Indian
monarch ascended the central turret of the palace.

A marvelous and magical change now came over the scene. The fierce
and vindictive war cries of the Aztec warriors ceased. Great rows of
Indians prostrated themselves on the ground, while all eyes were turned
upon the monarch whom they had been taught to venerate with slavish
awe. The Spaniards were startled at the homage which was given to the
cowardly Emperor, and Montezuma, himself, saw his advantage. He felt
himself once again a king, and addressed the multitude with all of his
former authority and confidence.

“Why do I see my people here in arms against the palace of my father?”
said he. “Is it that you think your sovereign a prisoner and wish to
release him? If so, you have done well; but you are mistaken. I am no
prisoner. These strangers are my guests. I remain with them only by
choice and I can leave them when I will. Have you come to drive them
from the city? That is unnecessary; they will depart of their own
accord, if you will open a way for them. Return to your homes! Lay down
your arms! Show your obedience to me, whose right it is. The white men
shall go back to their land, and all shall be well again within the
walls of Mexico.”

A murmur of contempt ran through the multitude. Rage and desire for
revenge made the Aztec warriors forget their reverence for their former
beloved Emperor, and they now turned against the very man whose word
had once been their law.

“Base Aztec!” they cried out in loud tones. “You are a woman and a
coward! The white men have made you a female, fit only to weave and to
spin! Begone! Back to your needlework and to your Spanish brothers!”

Immediately the Emperor was assailed by a cloud of rocks and arrows.
A stone struck the miserable man in the head, with a sickening thud,
and knocked him to the ground. A chief of high rank hurled his javelin
at him, but it just missed him as he fell. The Mexicans were shocked
at their own act of sacrilege and set up a dismal cry. They dispersed,
panic-stricken, and not one remained in the great square before the

With care and gentleness the Spaniards carried the body of Montezuma
to his own apartments. As soon as he recovered from his insensibility,
the full misery of his situation broke upon him. He, the once great and
powerful Montezuma, had been reviled and rejected by his own people.
Utterly crushed in spirit, he refused all food or assistance, even
tearing off the bandages which the Spaniards applied to his wounds. He
sat motionless, with eyes cast upon the ground, perpetually brooding
over his humiliation, and gradually grew so weak that he could scarcely
sit upright.

A body of Mexicans now took possession of the famous temple to the
war god, Huitzilopochtli, which was opposite the Spanish palace, and
rose to a height of nearly a hundred and fifty feet. From this vantage
point the Aztecs discharged such a volley of arrows upon the garrison,
that it was impossible for any soldier to show himself for an instant
outside the wall of the palace, without being immediately struck. The
Mexicans, meanwhile, were completely sheltered. As it was absolutely
necessary that they be driven from this point of vantage, Cortés
intrusted the task to his chamberlain, Escobar, giving him a hundred
men for the purpose. Three desperate attempts were made, but being
repulsed with considerable loss, this officer returned, and Cortés
determined to lead the storming party himself. A wound in his left
hand had almost disabled it, but he strapped his shield to the injured
member and thus sallied forth.

Several thousand of the Tlascalan allies were with him, and, at
the head of three hundred chosen cavaliers, he now dashed from the
palace. In the courtyard of the temple, a body of Mexicans was drawn
up to dispute his passage, but he charged them briskly, and, although
the horses could not stand up and had to be returned to the Spanish
quarters, the Aztecs were dispersed. The cavaliers and their Indian
allies now pressed up to the flight of stone steps which led into the
_teocalli_. The warriors were drawn up on every terrace, as well as
on the topmost platform, and showered down heavy stones, beams, and
burning rafters. The Spaniards kept on, in spite of the fact that many
of them were badly wounded by the falling beams and arrows, and, aided
by a brisk fire from the muskateers below, soon drove the Aztecs to the
broad summit of the _teocalli_. Here a desperate hand-to-hand fight
took place.

As the edge of the platform was unprotected by either battlement or
parapet, many of the combatants, as they struggled together, rolled
off, locked in a deadly deathgrip. Two powerful Aztecs seized upon
Cortés, at one stage of the battle, and were dragging him violently
toward the side of the pyramid, when, by sheer strength, he tore
himself from their grasp and hurled one of them over the edge.

At the beginning of the fight for the possession of this temple, the
priests ran to and fro among the contestants, with their long hair
streaming out behind them. With wild gestures they encouraged and urged
on the Indians, until they were all either killed or captured by the
onrushing Spanish cavaliers.

One by one the Indian warriors fell dead upon the blood-drenched
pavement, or were hurled from the dizzy height to the pavement below,
until, at last, none were left to oppose the white men. The Spaniards,
with yells of victory, now rushed into the sanctuaries. In one was
the hideous image of Huitzilopochtli with an offering of human hearts
before him. Possibly these were those of their own countrymen! With
loud shouts of triumph the Spaniards tore the hideous idol from its
niche, and, as the Aztecs watched, hurled it down the long steps of
the _teocalli_. Then the sanctuaries were set on fire, and, descending
joyfully to the courtyard, the soldiers set up a great song of
thanksgiving for their victory.

Cortés now hoped that the natives were sufficiently subdued to be
willing to come to terms with him, so he invited them to a parley,
and addressed the principal chiefs. He talked to them from the turret
previously occupied by Montezuma, and, as usual, had Marina to
interpret for him.

“You have brought all this slaughter upon yourselves by your
rebellion,” he said. “Yet, for the sake of the affection felt for you
by the sovereign whom you have treated so unworthily, I would willingly
stay my hand if you will lay down your arms and return once more to
obedience to me. If you do not do this, I will make your city a heap of
ruins, and will leave not a single soul alive to mourn over it.”

The Aztecs replied in a manner which was quite unexpected.

“It is quite true that you have destroyed our gods, massacred our
countrymen, and broken our temple to pieces. But look out upon our
streets and terraces. You see them thronged with warriors as far as
your eyes can reach,” said the Indian who had been chosen spokesman.
“Our numbers are scarcely diminished by our losses. Yours, on the
contrary, are lessened every hour. Your provisions and your water are
failing; you are perishing from hunger and from sickness; you must
soon fall into our hands. The bridges are broken down and you cannot
escape! There will be few of you left to glut the vengeance of our

With this tart reply, they discharged a volley of arrows, which
compelled the Spaniards to beat a speedy retreat.

To retreat was hazardous, indeed, and it was mortifying to abandon the
city; but, with his men daily diminishing in strength and in numbers,
and with his stock of provisions so nearly exhausted that one small
daily ration of bread was all that the soldiers had, there was nothing
else for Cortés to do. Montezuma had lingered feebly along, after the
day in which he had been struck by a stone, and now passed to another
world. “The tidings of this,” says an old historian, “were received
with real grief by every cavalier and soldier in the army who had
access to his person, for we all loved him as a father.” The Emperor’s
death was a misfortune for the Spaniards, because, while he lived,
there was a slight possibility of using his influence with the natives.
Now that hope had disappeared.

A council was called to decide as speedily as possible the
all-important question of the retreat. It was agreed that they should
leave at once, and at night, so that darkness would cloak their
movements. The safe conveyance of the treasure was quite a problem, but
the soldiers had converted their share into gold chains, or collars,
which could be easily carried about their persons. The royal fifth,
however, was in bars and wedges of solid gold. It could be carried
only by horse, and a special guard had to be provided for it. But much
treasure had to be abandoned, and it lay in shining heaps upon the
floor of the palace.

The soldiers who had come with Cortés, being old campaigners, did
not load themselves down with more than they could safely transport.
The soldiers of Narváez, however, being keen for the accumulation of
treasure, loaded themselves down with all that they could possibly
carry off with them.

As the retreat was to be over the causeway and dykes, a portable
bridge was constructed which could be laid across the open canals.
This was entrusted to the care of an officer named Magarino and forty
men. Cortés arranged the order of march. First was to go two hundred
Spanish foot soldiers, commanded by a Captain Sandoval, with twenty
other cavaliers. The rear guard was formed of infantry under Alvarado
and De Leon, while the center was in charge of Cortés, himself, with
some heavy guns, the baggage and the treasure. There were also the
prisoners, among whom were a son and two daughters of Montezuma,
Cacama, and several nobles. The Indian allies, the Tlascalans, were
divided up among the three divisions. There were several thousand of

Midnight came and all was ready for the journey. A solemn mass was
celebrated by Father Almedo, and, keeping as quiet as they possibly
could, the Spaniards sallied forth from the ancient palace of the
Aztecs, which had been the scene of so much suffering and fighting. The
night was a dark one, and a fine, misty rain fell steadily upon the
serried columns of Spanish cavaliers and brown-skinned natives.

The vast square before the palace was deserted. Through some
superstitious dread, the natives had not frequented the plaza since
the death of their Emperor, Montezuma, and the Spaniards crossed it as
noiselessly as possible, entering the great street of Tlacopan. They
peered anxiously into the gloom, expecting to be attacked at any moment
by a swarm of Aztecs, but all went well with them until the first
files of soldiers drew near the spot where the street opened upon the
causeway, which led by the side of the lake. Here there were Mexican
sentinels at their posts, and, as the bridge was being adjusted across
the uncovered breach, the Aztecs fled, crying out in loud tones that
the hated white men were leaving the city.

Immediately there was a commotion. The priests heard the shouting from
the summits of their _teocalli_ and beat upon the peculiar shells
which were used for rousing the people. The huge drum upon the temple
of the god of war was struck and gave forth a hollow, moaning roar
which vibrated through every corner of the capital. The Spaniards were
alarmed and worked with desperate fury to place their bridge across the
causeway so that the army could escape. But, as the soldiers labored
valorously, a sound was heard like a stormy wind as it rises in a
forest. Nearer and nearer it came, and, from the dark waters of the
lake came the splashing of many paddles. A few stones and arrows fell
among the hurrying troops. More and more followed in rapid succession
until they became a veritable blinding storm. Yells and shrill
war-cries rent the air, and, before the Spaniards well realized their
position, they found themselves surrounded by myriads of the enemy, who
were swarming over land and lake.

The Aztecs ran their canoes along the sides of the causeway, climbed
up, and charged the ranks of the Spaniards, with their Tlascalan
allies. The soldiers shook them off as best they could, rode over them
with their horses, and, with their pikes and their swords, drove them
headlong down the sides of the dike. They halted and waited for the
bridge to be brought up; but a terrible calamity had occurred, for the
bridge had been so borne down by the weight of the artillery passing
over it, that it had jammed firmly into the sides of the dike and was

The tidings spread rapidly from man to man and a cry of despair arose,
for all means of advance were cut off, and the Spaniards were caught
in a trap. Those behind pressed forward, trampling the weak and the
wounded under foot, and forcing those in front over the gulf. Some
of the cavaliers succeeded in swimming their horses across, but many
rolled back into the lake when attempting to ascend the opposite bank.
The infantry followed in a panic, and many of the men were pierced
by the Aztec arrows, or struck down by war clubs. Some were dragged
into the canoes to be later sacrificed to the great and awful stone
god. Fierce battle cries rose above the tumult of war, and these were
mingled with the cries of despair of the drowning Spaniards.

By degrees the opening in the causeway was filled up by the wreck of
the wagons, guns, rich bales of stuffs, chests of solid ingots, and
bodies of men and horses. Walking on top of this dismal ruin, those in
the rear were able to reach the other side.

As the attention of the Aztec warriors now fell upon the rich spoil
that strewed the ground, the pursuit of the Spaniards ceased. The
troops pressed forward through the village of Popotla, where Cortés
dismounted from his weary war-horse, and, sitting down upon the steps
of an Indian temple, looked mournfully at his broken army, as the thin
and disordered ranks filed past. It was a heartrending spectacle. He
knew, however, that this was no time to give away to vain regrets, so
he speedily mounted, and led his men through Tlacopan.

The broken army, disorganized and half starved, moved slowly toward
the sea coast. On the seventh day it reached the mountain range which
overlooks the plains of Otumba, and the scouts, climbing the steep
hillside, reported that a mighty host of warriors was in the valley,
ready to dispute their passage. Every chief of importance had taken the
field, and, as far as the eye could reach, extended a moving mass of
glittering shields and spears, mingled with the banners and the bright
feather-mail of the caciques.

Cortés disposed his army to the best advantage, and prepared to cut
his way through the enemy. He gave his force as broad a front as
possible, protecting it on either flank by his cavalry, now reduced
to but twenty horsemen. His directions to his infantrymen was that
they were to thrust, not strike, with their swords, and were to make
for the leaders of the enemy, whom they were to dispatch as soon as
met with. After a few brave words of encouragement, the little band
began to descend the hill. The enemy set up fierce war cries, as they
approached, and met the Spaniards with a storm of stones and arrows.

Now occurred a bitter fight. The Spaniards, at first, beat through the
crowd of natives, but, as the battle progressed, they were surrounded
on every side by a swarm of warriors. Cortés received a wound in the
head and his horse was killed beneath him, so that he was obliged
to mount one taken from the baggage train. His men became exhausted
beneath the fiery rays of the sun and began to give way. The enemy,
on the other hand, was constantly being reënforced from the rear, and
pressed on with redoubled fury.

Matters were critical for the Spaniards, when Cortés did a deed of
daring which was quite worthy of the Chevalier Bayard, or Murat, the
famous Napoleonic leader of horse. With his keen eye he discovered in
the distance a chief, who, from his dress and surroundings, he knew to
be the leader of the Aztec forces. Turning to his favorite henchmen,
the brave Spaniard cried out, while pointing his finger at the chief:

“There is our mark! Follow and support me!”

Then, shouting his war cry, he plunged into the thickest of the press
and bore towards the noble Aztec.

The enemy was taken completely by surprise and fell back. Many could
not dodge aside and were trampled down by the war-horse, or pierced by
the long lance which Cortés wielded with all the skill of a trained
fencer. The cavalier companions of the gallant Spaniard followed him
closely, and, in a few moments, they had come within striking distance
of the Aztec chieftain. Cortés rode speedily at him, and, thrusting
with his lance, brought him to earth, where he was stabbed to death
by a young Spaniard called Juan de Salamanca. Tearing his banner from
his clinched fist, the Castilian presented it to Cortés, who waved it
triumphantly above his head. The caciques’ guard, surprised by this
sudden onset, fled precipitously, while the panic spread to the other
Indians. The Spaniards pursued them for several miles, then returned to
secure the rich booty which they had left behind them. Truly the battle
had been won by the daring and personal initiative of the brave Spanish

The adventurers were now safely out of their grave peril. They reached
Tlascala in a few days, and, with the assistance of their native
allies, at once prepared to revenge themselves upon the Aztecs. Several
Spaniards were at Vera Cruz and these joined them. But there was much
need of gunpowder, and there was no way of getting sulphur for its
manufacture, unless it was obtained from one of the many volcanoes in
the neighborhood. How was this to be done?

A cavalier, named Francio Montaño, was equal to the emergency and
suggested that he be allowed to descend into the terrible volcano of
Popocatepetl, where sulphur, in a crude form, hung to the side of the
crater. Cortés was only too willing to allow him to make the attempt,
so accompanied by several others, he set out. After great hardship,
and, after passing through a region of perpetual snow, the explorers
reached the mouth of the fierce volcano, and, crawling cautiously to
the very edge, they peered down into its gloomy depths. At the bottom
of the dark abyss a lurid flame was burning, and, every now and again,
arose a sulphurous stream, which, cooling as it came upward, fell again
in showers upon the side of the cavity. It was necessary to descend
into this crater, with the boiling lava below, in order to scrape some
of the sulphur from the sides.

Montaño himself drew the longest stem of grass, when the Spaniards had
prepared lots to see who should descend, and, clinging to a basket
and rope, was soon four hundred feet within the horrible chasm. As
he hung there, he scraped the sulphur from the sides of the crater,
descending again and again, until he had procured enough for the wants
of the army. Then, with great elation, the adventurous sulphur hunters
returned to Tlascala, where their arrival was greeted with shouts of

Cortés was fully prepared to march again to the Mexican capital and to
wreak vengeance upon the Aztecs, who were now governed by Guatemozin, a
young prince who had married one of Montezuma’s daughters.

The Spanish army consisted of about six hundred men, of which forty
were cavalry, and eighty were arquebusiers and cross-bowmen. There were
nine cannon. The men were armed with swords and with long copper-headed
pikes, which had been specially constructed under the direction of the
General. There were, also, the Tlascalan allies, who were still anxious
and willing to fight their hated enemies, the Aztecs. Numerous other
bands of Indians also flocked to the Spanish standard.

Cortés determined to march to Tezcuco, establish his headquarters upon
the side of the great lake which was near the Mexican capital, and to
begin a blockade of the city of the Aztecs, until some ships, which
he was having constructed, could be brought to him. Then he could
transport his troops to the edge of the city and begin a direct assault.

Everything went well with both ships and men. The vessels reached the
lake in good order, were launched, and were filled with soldiers. The
plan of action against the city was to send the cavalier, Sandoval,
with one division, to take possession of Iztapalapan at the southern
end of the lake, while Alvarado and Olid were to secure Tlacopan and
Chapultepec upon the western shore, destroy the aqueduct, and thus cut
off the city’s supply of fresh water. This was successfully done and
soon the Spaniards had penetrated into the city as far as the great
_teocalli_. The natives were driven before them, while the Tlascalans
in the rear filled up the gaps and brought up the cannon.

As you remember, it was at the great _teocalli_ that the most serious
fighting occurred when the Spaniards were previously driven from the
city. Now still fiercer battling took place and the Spaniards again
captured this temple of the war-god. Some of them rushed to the top and
there found a fresh image to Huitzilopochtli. Tearing off the gold and
jewels with which it was bedecked, they hurled it, with its attendant
priests, over the side, with a mighty yell of defiance. Then they
hastened below to the assistance of their comrades, who were being
furiously assailed by the Aztecs.

Things were going ill with the Spaniards and they were being driven
down the great street of the city in hopeless confusion and panic.
Luck was with them, however, for a small force of cavalry now arrived,
charged into the mass of yelping Indians, and drove them back again
to the _teocalli_. Here Cortés attacked by the flank and the natives
retired in confusion and dismay. Evening was now coming on, so the
Spanish troops retreated in good order, their Tlascalan allies pulling
down many of the houses as they departed. The palace of Montezuma was
set afire, and this sight so maddened the Aztecs, that they redoubled
their efforts to head off the disappearing white men. It was of no
avail. The attacking Spaniards soon reached Xoloc, where they learned
that many of the native tribes, seeing the Mexicans unable to hold the
city, would join with the men from Castile.

After months of siege the Aztecs still defied the conquerors and
fiercely rejected all overtures of peace, although the banner of
Castile floated undisturbed from the smoldering remains of the
sanctuary on the _teocalli_ of the war-god. Hundreds of famishing
wretches died every day and lay where they fell, with no one to bury
them. In the midst of all this brutality and misery, Guatemozin
remained calm and courageous, and was as firmly resolved as ever not to

An assault was ordered, and, although the Mexicans fought valiantly,
they were weakened by starvation and could not struggle as before.
After a bloody battle, the Spanish commander withdrew to his quarters,
leaving behind him forty thousand corpses and a smoldering ruin. This
blow seemed to utterly stun the Aztecs.


Cortés now determined to secure the person of Guatemozin, so, upon the
following day, August 13th., 1521, the Spaniards again advanced into
the town and were soon battling fiercely with the Aztecs. While this
was going on several canoes pushed off across the lake. The Spanish
ships gave chase and sunk most of them, but a few succeeded in getting
into open water. Two or three large canoes, close together, attracted
the attention of a soldier, named Garci Holguin, who instantly gave
chase, and, with a favorable wind, soon overtook the fugitives,
although they rowed with great energy. The Spaniards leveled their guns
at the Indians, when one rose, saying:

“I am Guatemozin. Lead me to Malinche. I am his prisoner. But let no
harm come to my wife and to my followers.”

The Emperor was taken on board one of the ships and was ordered to call
upon his people to surrender.

“There is no need of this,” he answered sadly, “for they will fight no
longer when they see that their Emperor has been captured.”

He had spoken correctly, for, when the news of his capture reached the
shore, the Mexicans at once ceased to defend themselves. They had put
up a hard battle in order to give their Sovereign an opportunity to

Cortés had been watching the affair from the flat roof of one of the
houses and now sent word that Guatemozin should be brought before him.
He came, escorted by Sandoval and Holguin, both of whom claimed the
honor of having captured him. The Spanish conqueror came forward with
dignified courtesy to receive the noble prisoner.

“I have done all that I could to defend myself and my people,” said
Guatemozin. “I am now reduced to this awful state. Deal with me,
Malinche, as you will.” Then, laying his hand upon a dagger which hung
from the belt of the Spanish invader, he added: “Better dispatch me at
once with this, and rid me of life.”

Cortés smiled.

“Fear not,” said he. “You will be treated with honor. You have defended
your capital like a brave warrior, and a Spaniard knows how to respect
valor, even in an enemy.”

In spite of these remarks he treated him with great cruelty, for,
when the city was entered and less treasure was found there than had
been expected, Cortés caused poor Guatemozin to be tortured. Fire and
cord could not, however, wring the secret of the treasure from this
illustrious Prince. Later on he was hanged, upon the pretense that he
had conspired against the Spaniards.

The Aztec dead were now collected and burned in huge bonfires. Those
who were still alive were allowed to leave the city, and for three days
a mournful train of men, women, and children straggled feebly across
the causeways, sick and wounded, wasted with famine and with misery.
Again and again they turned to take one more look at the spot which
had once been their home. When they were gone, the Spanish conquerors
took possession of the place and purified it as speedily as possible,
burying those who were not burned in the bonfires.

The treasures of gold and of jewels which were found fell far short
of the expectations of the conquerors, for the Aztecs, no doubt, had
buried their hoards, or sunk them in the lake on purpose to disappoint
the avarice of their enemies.

Thus, after three months of continued fighting, the renowned capital of
the Aztecs fell before Cortés and his men. The Mexicans had put up a
courageous fight and had suffered much, but they had been no match for
the soldiers from Cuba and from Spain.

The Aztecs would not have thus gone down to ruin, had they not
ruthlessly made war upon the neighboring states, which caused them to
be hated. Their human sacrifices had angered their weaker neighbors,
and thus Cortés had secured the aid of the Tlascalans, without whose
assistance he could never have won the fight.

Cortés and his Spaniards were now masters of Mexico. A brave man with
equally brave followers had conquered an entire empire!

And what of the future days of this bold-hearted explorer? Alas! These
were similar to those which came to Columbus, the Navigator. Poor,
forsaken by the King of Spain, surrounded by persons who were jealous
of his position and his fame, the once rich and prosperous adventurer
died miserably at Castilleja, Spain, on December second, 1547, at the
age of sixty-two. With him was his devoted son, Martin, a youth of

Cortés was entombed in the land of his birth, but this was not to be
his last resting place, for his remains were taken across the sea to
the country which he had conquered. He was buried for the second time
in the Franciscan monastery at Tezcuco; then, for a third time, in the
church of St. Francis in the City of Mexico. On this occasion, which
was sixty-seven years after the first entombment, all the dignitaries
of Mexico marched in procession through the streets of the city. Still
again, in 1794, there was another removal of the General’s moldering
dust to the hospital of Jesus, where a monument of bronze was erected
to his fame and glory.

In 1823 there was yet another disturbance of what remained of our hero.
The previous removals of his ashes had been inspired by regard, but now
a revolutionary mob of frenzied Mexicans, in order to show its hatred
and detestation of the Spanish conquerors, endeavored to desecrate the
tomb. To prevent this, the casket, in the dead of night, was secretly
carried away by the Duke of Monteleone, a descendant of Cortés on the
female line, and for more than seventy years remained in a place of
safety. Monteleone, himself, was killed in one of the many Mexican
revolutions, and all knowledge was lost of the spot where he had hidden
the ashes of the conqueror. Yet, within a few years, the remains have
been discovered and a movement has been started to have them placed
in the national pantheon, a temple in the City of Mexico, erected to
all those who have made great names in the history of this turbulent

So at last, perhaps, the valiant Cortés will receive the honor that is
due him.







“COME hither, page, I want you.”

A little boy ran through the corridors of the palace of King John of
Portugal as this cry rang out, and, kneeling at the feet of the Queen,
kissed her hand.

“That is a good boy,” said Queen Leonora, smiling. “Ferdinand, I wish
to say that you need not accompany me this afternoon, but can go out

“Thank you, Your Majesty,” said the little boy, and, scampering off,
he was soon outside the palace, where some of the men-at-arms took him
hunting. This was much more to his liking than staying near the Queen
and carrying messages for her, which he was expected to do nearly every
day in the week.

Little Ferdinand had been born about the year 1470 at the Villa de
Sabroza, which is situated about the center of that part of Portugal
which lies north of the River Douro. His family was a noble one and
consequently it had been easy for the youth to obtain a position of
page at Court, a position which in those days, was equivalent to going
to boarding-school at the present time.

In 1470 a page was taught something of the history of his own country,
and a little about the history of others. He was instructed in
Latin,—enough to enable him to understand the church service,—and
was also taught how to read and to write. He was shown how to use
the rapier, the lance, and the arquebus; how to ride a horse; how to
swim and to dance. This was supposed to constitute the education of a
Portuguese gentleman, and, as there was some rivalry among the nobles
in regard to their respective households, the retinues of a Count or a
Baron quite resembled a modern boarding-school.

These were days when all eyes were turned upon the New World and the
recent discoveries in America. Every Portuguese youth was anxious to
follow the sea, perhaps to become a great explorer or navigator. The
discovery of a route to the Indies by a mariner in the service of
Spain had awakened a jealousy in the hearts of the Portuguese, and all
patriotic sailors were anxious to coast down the African shore, and, if
possible, to find a way to the Indies by the Cape of Good Hope. Young
Ferdinand grew up in this atmosphere, so you can readily see that he
eagerly looked for a chance when he could leave the court and could
become a mariner upon the wide and surging ocean.

The ambitious Ferdinand did not have to look far, or long, before
he had an opportunity to follow the sea. We find that he served
an apprenticeship under a famous navigator called Albuquerque,
who, although he maintained a strict military discipline over his
followers, was wise, humane, and just in his dealings with them. Young
Ferdinand spent much time in the Indies, where he had an excellent
opportunity to study and learn by experience how to govern men, so,
when Albuquerque was recalled to Portugal, he went with him, only
to find that the King would give him but slight recognition for his
services. This angered the high-spirited young fellow.

“I will leave the service of such a monarch,” said he, “and will go to
Spain. There, I hear, they know how to treat a valiant man.”

So, accompanied by one Roy Falero, who had earned quite a reputation
as a geographer and astronomer, he sought out Charles the Fifth at
Seville, proposing that the King allow him men and money for a journey
of exploration.

“I wish to sail westward,” said he, “and will discover a new route to
the Indies. If your gracious Majesty will but help me, I will find new
lands which will become the possessions of the Crown of Castile.”

Charles the Fifth, the grandson of Ferdinand and Isabella, was King of
Spain, and also Monarch of Austria; one crown being his by right of
his mother, the other by inheritance from his father. He was a man of
large ideas, so, when this project was presented to him, he heartily
approved, saying:

“Of course you shall go, and I will give you the money, the men,
and the ships. But all that you discover must belong to the King of
Spain.—Understand this!”

“We do.”

“Then you may sail, and God be with you!”

Five ships were soon fitted out for the expedition. Their crews
numbered two hundred and thirty-seven men and Ferdinand was
commissioned Admiral of the squadron, a position which pleased him
mightily. The caravels turned southward, and, leaving Seville on
August 10th., 1519, lazed along until they reached the Gulf of Guinea
on the west coast of Africa, where the ships cast anchor. By and by a
trade-wind came along, and aided by this and by the South Equatorial
current, the vessels made a safe and easy passage across the Atlantic,
to the shore of Brazil.

The Spaniards were delighted with what they saw, for they found a
large, fresh-water river, seventeen miles across, and at its mouth were
seven islands. Going ashore the sailors saw many brown-skinned natives,
who ran away whenever they approached, yelling like demons. One of
them “had the stature of a giant and the voice of a bull,” but even he
skipped headlong into the brush as the men from Castile made after him.
When the Spaniards reached the village of these Brazilians they found
the remains of human beings roasting on their fires. They stood aghast,
for these fellows were cannibals!

The ships were headed southward and languidly cruised along the coast
to Patagonia where the explorers lingered for two full months, eagerly
looking for precious stones and for human beings. But they found none
of the former and only one of the latter, this fellow being a giant who
came down to the shore dancing, singing, and throwing dust over his

He was so tall, says an old chronicler of this voyage, that the
head of a middling-sized man reached only to his waist; he was
well-proportioned; his visage was large and painted with different
colors, principally with yellow. There were red circles about his eyes
and something like a beard was pictured on either cheek. His hair
was colored white and his apparel was the skin of some beast, laced
together, the head of which appeared to have been very large. It had
ears like a mule, the body of a camel, and the tail of a horse: the
skin of it was wrapped about his feet in the manner of shoes. In his
hand was a short, thick bow and a bundle of arrows, made of reeds and
pointed with sharp stones.

Magellan invited the giant Patagonian on board his flagship, and, when
the old fellow had mounted the rope-ladder leading over the side,
presented him with hawk’s bells, a comb, some blue beads, and a looking
glass, into which the dusky-hued savage took a glance.

“Hu—rruu!!” No sooner had he seen his own horrid appearance than he
started backwards, with such violence, that he knocked down two sailors
who were standing behind him. He slipped, fell down on the deck, and,
when he arose, stood there shivering. His own face, never seen before,
had terrorized him. After awhile he was rowed ashore, still quaking and
rolling his eyes with unpleasant recollections of what he had seen.

The Spaniards laughed heartily at what had occurred, but the next
day a man of still greater stature came to visit them. He sang some
native songs, danced on the deck, and brought out some skins which he
traded for glass beads and other trinkets. Then he disappeared and did
not return, which led the voyagers to the belief that his countrymen
had made away with him because of the friendship which they had shown
towards him.

This did not deter other natives from paddling out to the ships, and
four soon came on board. These were presented with beads, with bells,
and similar trifles. But the Spaniards determined to trick them, so
fastened iron shackles around the ankles of two of them, as if for
ornaments. The ignorant Indians professed great delight with the
shining bands of metal, but, when they were ready to leave the vessel,
the fraud was discovered. It was certainly a cruel way to treat the
poor South Americans.

As for the other two, they dove over the side of the vessel and swam to
land, as soon as they perceived what had happened to their companions,
who began to roar “as loud as bulls,” and implored the assistance of
their God, the great devil Setebos. It was of no avail. The Spaniards
would not let them go and took them with them when they sailed further
south. They called them Patagonians, for their feet were covered with
skins, and the Portuguese word pata means a hoof or paw.

Now trouble beset Magellan, the same kind of trouble which Columbus had
with his men. His followers grew rebellious, and threatened to break
into open mutiny. Winter was at hand, and the ships were laid up for
the cold weather, but this forced inactivity made the sailors begin
to think about home, and they grew restless and discontented. They
requested their commander to set sail for Spain, but this he refused to
do. The sailors talked the matter over, and their sense of oppression
grew stronger and stronger. So they decided to take possession of the
ships, put the Admiral to death, imprison or kill such of the superior
officers as refused to acknowledge the authority of the mutineers, and
to return to Spain with a story that their commander had been swept
overboard in a storm.

The leader of this conspiracy was one Luis de Mendoza, who was assisted
by a Roman Catholic priest, Juan de Carthagena, who had accompanied
the expedition so that the Spaniards might not be without spiritual
assistance during their roving trips into unknown seas. Fortunately
for the Admiral this plot was disclosed to him in time to prevent its
execution. He had a trial and found the mutineers guilty. Many were
sentenced to be hanged, drawn, and quartered.

But the priest was allowed to have his life, for the Spaniards were too
good Catholics to harm any one who had devoted his days to the Church.
Carthagena was not injured; but was simply put under arrest, guarded
by one of the captains. The man of God was forced into the stocks: an
instrument made of two pieces of wood placed one upon the other and
pierced by two holes in which were inserted the legs of the person who
was to be punished.

There were many others who were less guilty than Mendoza, but who
were deserving of punishment. To have retained these on board, after a
short period of imprisonment, was to invite another mutiny, so Magellan
determined to put the remaining mutineers on shore and leave them to
the mercy of the native Patagonians. They were seated in the boats,
were landed, and the ships sailed southward, never to return.

The men had now been away from Spain for about a year; the long and
cold winter was drawing to a close; they were plowing towards the south
with the land ever in view upon the starboard. Would they reach a point
where the ships could enter the South Sea from the Atlantic?

Magellan was determined either to die or to bring the expedition to a
successful conclusion, so one day he addressed his sailors as follows:

“My men,” said he, “the Emperor has assigned me to the course which I
am to take, and I cannot and will not depart from it under any pretext
whatsoever. If our provisions grow scarce, you can add to your rations
by fishing and hunting on the land. I _will not_ put back, under any
consideration, and if any of you speak to me again of this, I will
throw you overboard where the sharks can have a full meal.”

Seeing the determination of their leader the sailors said nothing more.

The vessels kept onward, and, having reached a point about fifty-two
degrees south of the equator, were obliged to lay to in a harbor near
the shore. The men secured an ample supply of fish, of fuel, and of
fresh water, and, thus well provided, the prows were again turned in
a southerly direction. Suddenly the coast seemed to turn westward. The
sailors saw land on either side of them: sometimes there was scarcely a
mile between coast and islands.

This began to look interesting, as if, at last, they were nearing that
unknown sea for which they searched. The prows of the caravels were now
turned due west, and, with sails well filled by tempestuous winds, the
Spanish ships plowed onward, ever onward, until they emerged from among
the rocky islands, which surrounded them, into a broad and peaceful
ocean. Hurrah! Magellan had entered the gray waters of that sea which
Balboa had seen from the palm-clad hills of the Isthmus of Panama.

It was a warm, still day when the caravels forged ahead through the
straits which were ever afterwards to bear the name of this Spanish
adventurer, and, remembering the dreary winter upon the coast of
Patagonia, Magellan named the ocean the Pacific, for all seemed beauty
and peace after the troublous times which had passed. His men scrambled
ashore, erected a huge cross, and called the place Cape Desire, a
name well suited to their hopes of finding a route to India with its
treasures of gems and of spices.

There was trouble in store for them, in spite of the pacific greeting
which the vast ocean had given them. Turning westward and northward,
for three long months the caravels tossed upon the oily swells with no
sight of land. All the provisions were finally consumed and the water
casks were almost empty. Food was obtained by soaking old leather in
sea-water to soften it, and so weak were many of the sailors that
they could not perform their duties. Nineteen died, including the two

But the ocean was truly pacific, it was like glass. No storms
threatened, no tempests alarmed them, and, after sailing four thousand
miles, the adventurers suddenly were cheered by the sight of land.
Eagerly they drew near and went ashore, only to find two small,
treeless, and uninhabited islands which they called the Unfortunate
Isles. Certainly these sea rovers were having a rough time of it!

The Spaniards were upon the outskirts of Polynesia, and, as they sailed
onward, soon came upon a number of islands where they obtained plenty
of food from the dusky-hued natives who eagerly swarmed around them in
skin boats. The islanders also stole everything which they could get
their hands on, including one of the long boats, which they paddled
ashore and hid near their village. This angered the men from Castile
exceedingly, so they determined to punish the Polynesians, and that
right quickly.

Arming themselves, and putting on their steel helmets and breastplates,
the Spaniards now went ashore, shot at the natives with their guns,
drove them from their village, smashed their canoes, and burned their
huts. After killing seven of the yelping brown-skins, they seized their
lost boat, rowed it back to the ship, hoisted sail, and left for other
scenes. Magellan revenged himself further by calling these islands the
_Insular Latronum_, or “Islands of Thieves.” They are now called the

It was the month of March, 1521. The air was balmy and the navigators
much enjoyed the sight of many beauteous islands in the South Sea.
They landed upon one of them, pitched a tent for the accommodation of
the sick, and killed a stout porker which they had obtained from the
thieving natives. After their diet of leather, soaked in sea water,
this fresh meat was appreciated. In fact they had a good, old-fashioned
banquet, such as one is accustomed to on Thanksgiving day. After this
they chanted the _Te Deum_ and had a siesta beneath the shadows of the

They had remained here about a week when nine men came paddling up in
a canoe, and brought presents of cocoa-wine and some golden trinkets.
These were eagerly accepted, and the visitors rowed away, promising by
signs to return in four days with flesh, fowls, and rice. This promise
they kept, and, when they arrived, offered to exchange various kinds
of spices and articles made of gold, for the beads and trinkets which
the Spaniards showed them. Magellan wished to impress the natives with
his reserve power, so he ordered one of the cannon to be discharged,
while the visitors were on board his vessel. This so frightened them
that they ran to the gunwale in order to jump into the sea. The sailors
interfered, and, assuring them of the friendliness of the Admiral, soon
had them quieted.

Leaving this island behind them, the Spaniards now steered west and
southwest, and, after a run of three days, anchored near a large body
of land which was inhabited by a tribe of brown-skinned natives, who
seemed to be well-disposed towards these strange foreigners. Magellan
presented the King with a red and yellow garment made long and flowing,
and gave his principal courtiers knives and glass beads.

The Spaniards were well received by these people, so well received, in
fact, that the King of the island offered to furnish them with pilots
when they wished to sail away. This offer was accepted, and, steering
westward, they soon reached another island, called Zubut, where they
learned that a vessel manned by a Portuguese crew, and having a cargo
of gold and of slaves, had anchored opposite the capital only the
day before Magellan’s arrival, and had offered tribute to the King.
Rendered bold by this deference, the native proceeded to exact tribute
from Magellan, informing him that all who came to his dominions were
obliged to pay it.

“I cannot pursue the same course that these Portuguese have done,”
answered Magellan. “For the King of Portugal is a far less powerful
monarch than he whom I serve, for my Emperor has such power that his
subjects pay tribute to no one. If, therefore, you persist in your
claim, you may find yourself involved in a war with one who will crush
you at the first conflict.”

These words made the bold native reflect, and, as a Moorish trader,
who was present, informed him that what he told him was the truth, the
monarch asked for a day in which to consider his answer to Magellan’s
refusal. In the meantime he entertained the sailors right royally.

While deliberating how to gracefully withdraw from the arrogant
position which he had assumed, the savage ruler was visited by the
native monarch who had accompanied Magellan on board his ship from the
island which he had recently visited. This fellow spoke so well of the
Admiral that his words had great weight with the proud islander. The
demand for tribute was withdrawn, and the people of the island entered
eagerly into traffic with the newcomers, who became missionaries and
preached the Christian faith with so much earnestness, that, within a
very short time, the whole territory was converted to the religion of
Jesus Christ. The native idols were destroyed and crosses were erected
in many places.

After a lengthy stay at this island, the Spaniards again went on board
their ships, and, sailing away, reached the Philippine Islands, which
were called Mathan by the natives. Here were two native rulers, Tual
and Cilapulapu, whom Magellan summoned to pay tribute to the King of
Spain. The first acceded to his demand, the second refused indignantly
to do so.

This roused the hot blood of the Castilian adventurer, and he
determined to enforce his claim with cold steel. He, therefore, chose
sixty of his bravest men, armed them with coats of mail and steel
helmets, and, taking to the boats, soon landed. They marched inland in
order to chastise this independent ruler.

Cilapulapu had hastily collected all of his fighting men, arranged them
in three divisions, and awaited the oncoming Spaniards. His soldiers
were many—there were two thousand in each division, or six thousand in
all—armed with spears, lances, darts, javelins, and arrows dipped in
poison. The Spaniards little knew what they were marching against, yet,
like Custer at the Little Big Horn, they kept on moving. And, like
Custer, there was soon to be an equally severe defeat.

The mail-clad Castilians advanced boldly through the jungle to where
the enemy was lying concealed, and there a shower of arrows beat down
upon them, rattling like hail upon their steel coats. Many of the barbs
were turned aside, but some penetrated the joints of the armor, and,
entering the skin of the Spaniards, sent the deadly poison coursing
through their veins.

Magellan urged on his followers by voice and waving sword, but, as
he led the advance, a sharp barb penetrated a joint of his armor,
and forced the deadly poison into his blood. The enemy now rushed in
on every side, in overwhelming numbers, and showered their javelins
upon the sixty brave soldiers of Castile. The wounded leader bravely
endeavored to direct his men, in spite of his injury, but, as he
shouted his battle-cry, a cane-lance struck him full in the face. The
blow was fatal and he sank dead upon the ground.

His soldiers were now almost surrounded. Eight of them were killed, the
rest retreated (as best they might) to the beach, leaving the body of
their dead leader in the hands of the exultant savages, who made the
air hideous with their exultant battle-cries.


So died the brave Portuguese navigator, on an island which was to
belong to the Spanish Crown for many, many years. He had fallen as he
had always wished to do, in the front of battle, and, although his
followers endeavored to secure his body from the wild Filipinos, they
were unable to do so. Their emissary to the barbarous Cilapulapu was
murdered by this wily monarch, and, seeing that it was impossible to
remain longer in this region, the navigators sailed away, bitterly
cursing their misfortune in losing such a brave and courageous leader.

       *       *       *       *       *

Reduced to forty-six in number, the survivors of this expedition of
adventure and discovery continued their journey among the various
islands of Polynesia until February, 1522, when they passed the
extremity of Molucca, and, keeping outside of Sumatra, sailed due west
toward the eastern coast of Africa. Twenty-one of the forty-six died
of hunger before they reached the Cape Verde Islands, where, sending
deputies ashore to represent their pitiable condition to the Portuguese
authorities, they were allowed some rice, which was quickly disposed
of. Thirteen of the sailors went on shore again to secure a further
supply of provisions, but the Portuguese considered that they had done
quite enough for them, so seized them and threw them into prison. The
others, panic-stricken, hoisted sail, and, without endeavoring to
release their companions, set out for their beloved Spain.

On September the seventh, 1522, twelve miserable-looking Spanish
sailors landed at the port of St. Lucar, near Seville. They were
ragged, bare-foot, and gaunt from hunger. Proceeding to the Cathedral,
they sank to their knees and thanked God for their preservation, for,
out of the two hundred and thirty-seven who had sailed gayly away from
Seville more than three years before, these were all that remained to
tell the tale.

And it was a pretty good tale they had to tell, for they had been the
first white men to circumnavigate the globe. But the bones of their
gallant leader lay among the wild and bloodthirsty natives of the
Philippine Islands, with not even a stone to mark the last resting
place of the brave and energetic Portuguese mariner.







IT was a calm, still day off the coast of Spain. A light, southerly
breeze rippled the surface of the water, and, if you had been standing
on the Cape St. Vincent, you would have seen the sails of six vessels
which were headed for the shore. If you had been nearer, you would have
seen that here were three Spanish galleons of war and three treasure
ships from far distant Hispaniola, on the Isthmus of Panama. They were
loaded with gold, with silver, and with spices, which had been sent to
the King of Spain by Hernando Cortés, conqueror of Montezuma and the
Mexican people.

But, ah! what is this!

As the treasure ships and their convoys approached the shore, suddenly
a fleet of six vessels could be seen boiling along under full canvas,
and rushing to meet them. They were armed corsairs under Juan Florin,
fitted out at New Rochelle, in France, and having on board a man who
was to have some prominence in later years, as he was to be the first
European to view the broad salt marshes of New Jersey. This was
Giovanni Verrazano, a Florentine navigator, who, like all the mariners
in those days, was a sea robber, a pirate, and an explorer.

The Spanish ships were about thirty-five miles from the shore, and
rollicked along right merrily, under a full spread of canvas. Their
steermen thought, no doubt, that these were friendly vessels coming to
greet them and to convoy them home. But in an hour they found out their
mistake. The flag of France flew defiantly at the mast-heads of the
oncoming galleons, and, as they drew near, cannon were trained upon the
Spaniards and balls began to fly dangerously close. One of the treasure
ships turned around and took flight, but the others had to fight it out.

Now was a sharp little battle. Around and around went the boats,
banging away at a good rate; but the French corsairs were accurate
marksmen and were keen to win, for they longed for all that Mexican
gold. At the end of two hours’ time the French were alongside, had
boarded, and the yellow flag of Spain came fluttering to the decks of
the galleons from the coast of Mexico. The treasure of Cortés was to
find a safe home on the shores of Merrie France.

The King of Spain was deeply grieved to hear of this loss and thereupon
ordered all homeward-bound vessels to rendezvous at Hispaniola, in
order to be safely convoyed to Spain. He also offered one-half of the
treasure captured to any Spaniard who would chase the French and get
back that which had been stolen. Hernando Cortés, too, was greatly
disappointed when he heard of this loss, but he took measure to avoid
such mishaps in the future. As for Verrazano: he reaped such a large
share of this treasure, that he soon owned some vessels of his own.

For several years this Florentine corsair, now sailing under the flag
of France, made it a business to lie in wait for treasure ships coming
from Mexico, and the West Indies, to the shores of Spain. He did well,
captured many a prize, and on one occasion took a Portuguese ship
bringing from the Indies a freight valued at 180,000 ducats. He grew
rich and prosperous, and, as he was of an adventurous disposition,
determined to, himself, sail to the New World, and make an attempt to
find that passage to Cathay, for which all European navigators were
then searching. The Spaniards, at this time, had just about given up
all hope of finding Asia connected with the continent of North America.

In the year 1522, with four ships, Verrazano turned his face towards
America and started across the Atlantic. But fierce storms beset his
path; he was driven back to the coast of Brittany, where his vessels,
badly damaged by wind and waves, were refitted. After this he gathered
a fleet of armed caravels, cruised southward into Spanish waters,
took several prizes, and then returned. This was in the Spring of
1524. He then determined to sail for the land of America, in one ship,
the _Dauphine_. He took fifty men, with ammunition, arms, and stores
sufficient to last them for eight months, and turned the prow of the
trim little vessel towards the west.

Heading straight across the broad Atlantic, Verrazano and his
Frenchmen passed north of the Bermuda Islands, and, drifting northward
in the Gulf Stream, sighted land about the sixth day of March. Many
fires were seen on the beach, made by the Indians, who flocked to
the shore at this season to feast on shell fish and to manufacture
_wampum_, or shell money. The explorers were off the coast of New
Jersey, probably near Cape May.

Verrazano was much pleased to see that he had reached the shores of
America and ordered a boat to land. As the sailors scrambled up on the
sandy beach, a number of natives came down to the shore; but fled as
the white men approached, sometimes stopping, and turning about, gazing
with much curiosity at the white-skinned navigators. Being reassured
by signs that they would not be injured, some of them came near, and,
looking with wonder at the dress and complexions of the foreigners,
offered them food. This was accepted, and then the sailors returned to
their vessel.

The explorers sailed northward, again landed, and, going inland, found
this to be a country full of very great forests. They marveled at
the many trees and shrubs which stretched away in unbroken splendor.
Verrazano was undoubtedly in the harbor of New York, at this time,
and saw Shrewsbury River, the Kills, and the Narrows. He says: “The
land has many lakes and ponds of fresh water, with numerous kinds of
birds adapted to all the pleasures of the chase. The winds do not blow
fiercely in these regions and those which prevail are northwest and


Leaving New York harbor, the explorers followed the coastline, and
sailed along the shores of Long Island, where they saw many great fires
made by the native inhabitants. Approaching the beach in order to get
water, the Captain ordered the boat to land, with twenty-five men, but
there was such high surf that it was impossible to do so. Many Indians
came down to the sand, making friendly signs, and pointing to where the
white men might gain a footing.

Rockaway Bay was a great resort of the Indians for the purpose of
manufacturing _wampum_ or _seawan_, the money of the native Americans.
Numerous shell beds now line the shore where the manufacture was
carried on. The navigators must have therefore landed on Rockaway
Beach, where the shore-line meets the narrow and barren outer-bar,
which for over seventy miles separates the ocean from the bay, or
lagoons, behind it.

Still coasting along, the keen Verrazano went ashore again near Quogue
or Bridgehampton, where he found the place full of forests of various
kinds of woods, but not as odoriferous as those on the Jersey shore;
the country being more northerly and colder. Here the Indians again
fled into the thickets, as the white men approached, but the Frenchmen
saw many of their boats, made of a single log twenty feet long and four
feet wide, hollowed out with sharp knives and axes.

After remaining here three days, the navigators departed, running along
the coast in a northerly direction, sailing by day and dropping anchor
at night. At the end of a journey of a hundred miles they found a
very pleasant place, indeed, where a large river, deep at its mouth,
ran into the sea between high cliffs upon either side. The explorers
proceeded up the curving stream in a boat and soon found themselves
surrounded by the redskins in canoes, these natives being dressed with
bird feathers of gay colors. They came towards the Frenchmen, joyfully,
and emitted great shouts of admiration.

The sailors ascended the river for about half a mile, “where,” says
Verrazano, “we saw a fine lake about three miles in circumference
through which were passing many canoes of the red men.” But a violent
wind sprang up, so that the explorers had to return to their ships,
“leaving the land,” continues Verrazano, “with much regret, as the
hills there showed minerals.” The navigators had entered the river
Thames, the vessel being anchored well within Fisher’s Island, where
many a steam-yacht would afterwards cast its anchor, while the sailors
would watch the rival crews of Yale and Harvard, as they battled for
supremacy on the waters of the shimmering stream.

But the navigators would not remain to make friends with the Indians,
and, weighing anchor, sailed eastward, where they saw an island,
triangular in form, distant about ten miles from the mainland, full of
hills and covered with trees. Judging from the fires which they viewed
along the shore, the Frenchmen considered it to be thickly inhabited.
This was Block Island, but the sunburned explorers called it Louisa
Island, after the mother of King Francis the First, of far distant

Fourteen miles from Block Island is Narragansett Bay, and hither the
_Dauphine_ was headed, anchoring first at its mouth, then between
Goat Island and the present town of Newport. Immediately the vessel
was surrounded by canoes, filled with wondering savages, who at first
did not venture to approach the ships, but, stopping about fifty paces
away, gazed in silent admiration at the strange object which had risen,
as if by magic, before them. Then, all of a sudden, they broke into a
loud shout of joy.

The Frenchmen crowded to the rail, reassuring the natives and imitating
their gestures. The Indians therefore, came nearer, and, as they
approached, the navigators threw them bells, mirrors, and other
trinkets, which they picked up, laughing, and then paddled up to the
sides of the great hulk. Catching hold of the gunwales with their
hands, they crawled up on the deck, saying: “Ugh! Ugh!”

Among the visitors were two kings, one of whom seemed to be about
forty, the other twenty-four years of age. The elder was arrayed in
a robe of deer skins, skillfully wrought with rich embroidery; his
head was bare and his hair was carefully tied behind him; his neck
was adorned by a large chain, set off with various colored stones.
The dress of the younger monarch was nearly like that of his elder

The followers of these kings crowded around them, “and,” says
Verrazano, “they were the most beautiful and genteel-mannered people I
had met in all the voyage.” Their complexions were remarkably clear;
their features regular, their hair long, and dressed with no ordinary
degree of care; their eyes black and lively. Their whole aspect was
pleasing, and their profiles reminded the Frenchmen of the busts of
the ancients. The wives and daughters of the native Narragansetts were
not allowed to come on board, and had to wait for their husbands in the
canoes. These, too, were richly dressed in deer and beaver skins. The
early inhabitants of Newport, it seems, were as gaudily arrayed as were
their white-skinned descendants to be many centuries later.

The Frenchmen lingered here for more than two weeks, while Verrazano
made numerous trips into the many estuaries of Narragansett Bay,
finding a pleasant country with all kinds of cultivation going on.
Corn was being grown; wine and oil were being manufactured by the
native inhabitants. The corsair was particularly struck with the total
ignorance shown by the natives of the value of gold, and the preference
which they gave for beads and for toys, over more costly objects. So,
in trade, he was able to get many valuable furs and skins for a few,
shining, glass beads.

But, in spite of the charms of the scenery and the pleasant reception
given him by the friendly Narragansett Indians, the Frenchmen decided
to continue their journey northward. So, leaving Newport behind them,
the _Dauphine_ was steered along the coast. The vessel passed around
south of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, and, steering well clear of
Cape Cod, lazed along the rocky shore of Massachusetts near Cape Ann.

Occasionally the explorers landed in their boat, finding dense woods
of pines and hemlocks. The natives seemed to be quite different, also,
from those farther south, for, while the southerners had been gentle
in their behavior, these were more barbarous and rough. They were
dressed in the skins of bears, wolves, and foxes, and, although the
Frenchmen endeavored to hold conversation with them, this was found to
be impossible, as they would run into the forest whenever the white men

Finally, somewhere between Cape Ann and Nahant—probably where the
Myopia Hunt Club now rests in peaceful seclusion—twenty-five of the
explorers went inland for two or three miles, seeing many natives,
who would not be friendly, and, when they returned to the shore, the
primitive sons of Massachusetts shot at the interlopers with their bows
and arrows, shouting loudly as they did so. Many of the redskins had
copper rings in their ears. The forests were very dense hereabouts, and
the savages hid themselves whenever the white men turned to fight.

Not pleased with their reception, the navigators coasted northward,
passed the rocky promontory of Cape Ann, the wind-ripped Isles of
Shoals, and finally reached Portland Harbor. They were charmed with
the magnificent scenery, and, coasting along the hemlock-clad shores,
passed thirty-two islands, all lying near the rocky beach, which
impressed the voyagers greatly with their beauty. But alas! provisions
now began to fail, and it was time to hark back to France.

All the crew were well and happy, for they had had a wonderful trip
along the coastline of America, then unspoiled by the erection of
houses, towns, and villages.

On board was an Indian boy, whom they had kidnaped, and he, too,
seemed to be well and contented. When off the Jersey coast, Verrazano
had landed and had journeyed about two miles into the interior, with
about twenty of the crew. The natives had fled to the forest; but
two,—a young girl and an old woman, less fortunate than the rest,—had
been overtaken by the Europeans. The Frenchmen seized the girl, and
also a boy of about eight years of age, who had been hanging on the
back of the old woman. Then, they began to retrace their steps to the

As they proceeded, the girl made a vigorous resistance, and set up
violent cries of rage and terror. She clawed with her nails, struck
with her hands, and struggled to free herself. At last, wearied with
the attempt to transport this virago, the Frenchmen let her go, keeping
the boy as a less troublesome, though less valued prize. The girl
bounded away into the forest like a deer, and was soon lost in the
shadows of the trees.

The _Dauphine_ was now somewhere near the mouth of the beautiful
Penobscot River, in Maine. It was the end of June and the breath from
the hemlock forests along the shore was filled with the scent of the
balsam bough. Verrazano would have lingered longer in this lovely
country, but the object of the voyage had now been accomplished;
over seven hundred leagues of the new world had been explored, and
the French corsair had held sufficient communication with the native
redskins to form some idea of their state and character.

The bow of the _Dauphine_ was therefore turned towards France; she
made a safe passage, propelled by favorable winds, and, in the month
of July, 1524, about five and a half months after her departure,
Verrazano, the corsair, landed at Dieppe. The Indian boy was well, and
he was taken ashore: but what happened to him afterwards is not known.

The adventurous explorer now wrote a letter to the King of France
telling of the land which he had discovered and of the Indians and wild
beasts which he had seen. To Francis the First, the French Monarch,
he offered a vast province in the temperate latitude, on which France
might well have expended her enterprise, and which would have repaid
her efforts a thousand fold. But, alas! France was then in dreadful
straits, for she was near annihilation from her recent struggles with
Germany. The King was a prisoner in the hands of the Emperor; his army
had been dispersed; his treasury was exhausted.

Thus the vast and fruitful land of America was left to the English and
the Dutch to explore, to colonize, and to subdue. Could the rough, old
corsair have seen in dreams the beach of Atlantic City, four centuries
later, with its board walk, its towering hotels, its thousands of
bathers, and its wheeled chairs, he would have, indeed, been surprised,
for the old fellow was the first European who had seen the surf on the
shelving sands of New Jersey.




  _An eagle soared o’er the heights of Quito,_
  _Its talons were hard, and it screamed as it flew;_
  _For, far down below, in gleaming chain mail,_
  _Was a Spanish corsair with his murderous crew._
  _The Spaniard looked upward. “Ah, brother,” said he,_
  _“Are there doves here below? If it’s so, I am here_
  _To plunder such weaklings, despoil them of home,_
  _To pillage and burn without shedding a tear.”_
  _The eagle said, “Yes; you, I see, are my mate,_
  _For I am a harpy; bring ruin in my path._
  _Let’s form an alliance, and kill all we can,_
  _What matter to us if we stir up fierce wrath!”_
  _So the Spaniard and eagle swept o’er poor Peru;_
  _Each sought out the doves, e’en at the church portal._
  _’Midst fire and pillage, ’midst carnage and death,_
  _Both carved a career,—the Spaniard’s immortal._




THERE was a Spaniard once, who lived in Panama and who had the high
sounding name of Vasco Nuñez de Balboa.

Like all of the adventurers in the early days, he was ever on the
lookout for gold. Do you wonder, therefore, that his brown eyes
glittered and gleamed when an Indian chief came to him and said:

“If this yellow gold is what you prize so greatly that you are willing
to leave your home and risk even life itself, for it, then I can tell
you of a land where they eat and drink out of golden vessels, and gold
is as common with the natives as iron is with you.”

It is unnecessary to add that the keen Balboa eagerly inquired where
this place was to be found. And the Indian, sweeping his hand toward
the South, said: “It is there,—Peru, the land of the Incas!”

The Spaniard did not forget what the native had said, and he told it
to some of his friends, among whom was a young adventurer by the name
of Francisco Pizarro, who had been sent to Panama to traffic with the
natives for pearls. This fellow, who was a distant kinsman of Hernando
Cortés, conqueror of Mexico, was a true adventurer; but he was the
least educated of all the Spaniards who have made names for themselves
in the New World. He had, indeed, been employed as a swine-herd near
the city of Truxillo, in Spain, where he had been born. He could
neither read nor write with any fluency. From childhood he had been
neglected and had been left to make a living as best he might.

We know that he sailed away from Seville, in Spain, when quite a
young man, and that he embarked, with other adventurers, to find his
fortune in the New World. We hear of him in Hispaniola, and, later on,
know that he was employed by Balboa in several enterprises. He seems
to have been ever on the lookout for adventure and anxious to mend
his fortunes, which were so low, indeed, that, when he heard of this
land of gold, he had not the means to fit out a ship in order to sail
thither and find out whether or not what the native had said was true.
Still, the matter rankled in his mind, so that he, at length, found a
way to go where was wealth, fame, and fortune.

There were two people in eastern Panama who knew young Pizarro, and who
decided that, perhaps, there was some truth in what the Indian had said
about the land of the Incas.

“I wish to go there,” said the Spaniard. “If you will assist and aid
me, we may be all wealthy together.”

“That sounds well,” answered Hernando de Luque, one of these friends,
“and I believe that I will give you the necessary funds, so that you
may fit out a ship.”

The other friend, named Diego Almagro, was also a badly educated
individual, but he was one who eagerly listened to tales of adventure.
A compact was thus made between these three, most of the money being
supplied by De Luque, Almagro undertaking the equipment of the ship,
and Pizarro taking command of the expedition. It was difficult to get
men to join in such a venture, but eventually about a hundred were
obtained, mostly idlers in the colony who eagerly grasped at anything
that would mend their broken fortunes. They were a rough lot.

Everything was finally ready for the journey to that fabled land of
Peru, so Pizarro set sail with his following of ne’er-do-wells in a
large ship, some time during the month of November, 1524. Almagro
followed in a second vessel, with the rest of the Panama ruffians, and
thus began a movement which was to bring a rich and populous region
beneath the banner of Castile.

Pizarro and his friends embarked at a most unfavorable time of the
year, for it was the rainy season, and the coast was swept by violent
tempests. They had no knowledge of this fact and consequently kept on
until they reached the Puerto de Piñas, or Port of Pines, a headland
upon the other side of which was a little river. The ship was brought
to anchor and the crew landed in order to explore the country, but the
Spanish adventurers found only thick, impenetrable forests, and deep
swamplands which were filled with quagmire and with fever. So they
returned to the ship, exhausted; hoisted sail, and proceeded again upon
their voyage to the southland. They met with a succession of fearful
storms which buffeted their vessel so severely that she began to leak.
Their stock of food and water became nearly spent, and the members
of the expedition had to subsist upon two ears of Indian corn a day.
In this dreadful condition they were only too glad to turn back, and
anchor, again, a few leagues from the place where they had first hauled
down their sails.

The Spaniards were now in a desperate state of mind, for the food
supply was about gone, and, upon the shore, all that they could
discover were a few unwholesome berries. So the ship was sent back to
Panama in order to lay in a fresh stock of provisions, while Pizarro,
himself, with about half of his company, made a further attempt to
explore the country. The climate was hot and enervating, so that more
than twenty men died of fever, but the energetic Pizarro kept on, and
at last succeeded in reaching a clearing where stood a small Indian

To the half-starved Spaniards this was a godsend, indeed, and, rushing
forward, they broke into the rude huts and seized what food was there
to be found; which they devoured ravenously. The natives dispersed into
the woods, but, seeing that the white-skins offered them no violence,
they came back and, by means of signs, began to converse with these
haggard adventurers. There was a rich country lying far to the south,
said they, where the people had much gold. They, themselves, wore large
ornaments of the shining metal, and this the Spaniards eagerly gazed
upon, for it was substantial evidence that the precious material could
be found at no far distant place.

Cheered, but miserable, the adventurers camped here for six weary
weeks, when the ship returned with provisions. Those on board were
horrified at the gaunt and haggard faces of their comrades, who looked
like wild men, and who fell upon the provisions as if they had never
before seen food. They soon revived, and, embarking once more, sailed
southward along the coast, and away from that dismal and cheerless
spot, which they named the Port of Famine.

The vessel crept along near the shore, and the Spaniards again landed,
when they saw an Indian village among the trees. The inhabitants fled
into the forest as the white-skinned men approached, leaving behind
them a goodly store of corn and other food, and also a number of gold
ornaments of considerable value. The adventurers found that these were
a race of cannibals, for human flesh was roasting before a fire near
one of the huts. So they hastened back to their ship, with no cheerful
feelings, and again set sail, touching here and there upon the shore,
where they found bold and warlike natives, who showed no disposition to
be friendly.

Almagro, meanwhile, had succeeded in equipping a small caravel, and
had followed in Pizarro’s wake with about seventy men. At different
places he touched the shore, even as Pizarro had done, and had several
severe fights with the natives, in one of which he was struck in the
forehead by a javelin, which deprived him of the sight of one eye.
Nothing daunted by this mishap, he kept on down the coast, collected
considerable gold, and finally gained tidings of his friend Pizarro,
whom he came upon at a seaport called Chicama. The two adventurous
commanders embraced with much fervor, and each told the other of his
many exciting encounters with the natives. They both were sure that
they had not yet gone far enough to the southward, and, after a long
consultation, Pizarro decided to join with Almagro, and return to
Panama for more men, more arms, and better supplies.

Alas! when the adventurous sea rovers reached Panama, the Governor lent
an unwilling ear to all of their schemes.

“You have wasted men and money enough already,” said he. “Away with

But here the friendly De Luque interposed, and, by the payment of a
large sum, was able to buy off this official interference with future
explorations. A contract was now drawn up and signed between De Luque,
Pizarro and Almagro, whereby the two latter agreed to pursue the
undertaking until the treasures of Peru were discovered, and were to
divide all the lands, gold, jewels, or treasures equally between the
three, in consideration for further sums which De Luque was to furnish
for more ships and provisions. Should the expedition fail utterly,
De Luque was to be repaid with every bit of property which the two
sea-captains might possess. Two large and strong vessels were now
engaged, and, procuring a few horses and one hundred and sixty men, the
second expedition was started for the fabled land of promise.

There was to be no easy or garland-strewn road to success. One of their
ships, under an experienced pilot called Ruiz, sailed on ahead, leaving
Pizarro with a number of his men at a place on the sea-coast, which
seemed to be healthful, and in an excellent position for defense. A
good deal of treasure had been gathered as the adventurers coasted
along, and this was sent back to Panama, under the care of Almagro, who
was instructed to bring reënforcements. By the exhibition of the gold,
which had been discovered, it was hoped to tempt other Spaniards to
this hazardous adventure.

Ruiz had a successful voyage. He sailed across the equinoctial line
and entered a great bay, called the Bay of St. Matthew, where he found
the natives hospitable, and somewhat afraid of these white-skinned
strangers, in their curious house, which floated upon the blue water.
The people wore robes of a woolen cloth of fine texture, dyed in
brilliant colors, and embroidered with figures of birds and of flowers.
They had a pair of balances for weighing gold and silver, a utensil
never seen before among the natives of South America, and told him
that they possessed large flocks of llamas, or Peruvian sheep, from
which their wool was obtained, and also, that, in the palaces of their
rulers, gold and silver was as common as wood. Ruiz took several of the
most intelligent natives on board, in order to teach them Spanish, so
that they could act as interpreters, and then sailed back to the place
where he had left Pizarro and his men.

He arrived in the very nick of time, because the Spaniards had met
with nothing but disaster. They had journeyed into the interior,
hoping to find treasure and populous cities, only to become lost in
dense forests of gigantic tropical vegetation. Many were waylaid and
killed by lurking natives; some died of fever; and all suffered great
privation and distress. Hideous snakes and alligators infested the many
swamps which they came across; so, discouraged and depressed, they
had retreated to the sea-coast, only to be so tormented by swarms of
mosquitoes, that they had to bury themselves in the sand, in order to
rid themselves of the pests. Harried by fear of starvation, and worn
out by suffering, they wished to go no farther; but to sail immediately
for Panama. Luckily, at this juncture, Almagro returned with a goodly
supply of provisions, and with eighty new adventurers, whose enthusiasm
speedily revived the drooping spirits of Pizarro’s men.

Sailing southward, under the pilotage of Ruiz, they again reached
the Bay of St. Matthew, and cast anchor opposite the Peruvian town
of Tacamez, which was swarming with natives who wore many ornaments
of gold and of silver. Nearby flowed a river, called the River of
Emeralds, because of the quantities of the gems which were dug from its
banks, and, when the Spaniards heard of the vast stores of these gems
which the natives had gathered, they were eager to come into possession
of them.

With this thought in view, they landed, but were immediately surrounded
by nearly ten thousand natives, who were well-armed, and seemed to be
hostile. The adventurers were helpless; but, just as they expected to
be assaulted, one of their number was thrown from his horse, and this
caused a great commotion among the Peruvians.

“See,” they cried, “what was all in one part has divided, so that it
is now two portions. Make way for the sorcerers!”

A lane was immediately opened for the Castilians, and down this, with
thankful hearts, they retreated to their boats.

Shortly after this, Almagro returned in one of the ships to Panama, for
it was plain that they could never gain any treasure from these natives
by force, unless they had a greater number of soldiers. Pizarro chose
a small island as his headquarters until the return of his comrade;
but this decision caused great discontent among his men, and many of
them wrote to friends in Panama bewailing their condition, and begging
them to use their influence with the Governor to send speedy relief.
As Almagro did his best to seize all letters directed to Panama,
one of these was hidden in a ball of cotton, and sent as a present
to the wife of the Governor. It was signed by several soldiers, who
begged that a ship be sent to rescue them from the dismal isle before
they should all die of starvation and exposure. This epistle reached
its proper destination, and, when the Governor viewed the haggard
faces of Almagro’s men, he determined, in his own mind, that the few
ill-fated survivors of the expedition were being detained by Pizarro,
against their will, and upon a desolate island. He was also angered
by the number of lives which had already been lost, and the money
which had been spent upon the unsuccessful expedition to the land
of the Peruvians. Consequently he refused to help Almagro further,
and, instead of this, sent off two ships to bring back every Spanish
adventurer who was then with Pizarro. The vessels were commanded by a
certain Captain Tafur.

The followers of Pizarro were overjoyed to see two well-provisioned
ships come to their assistance, and were quite ready to return to
Panama; but Pizarro received letters from both Almagro and the priest,
De Luque, begging him to hold fast to his purpose. They furthermore
advised him that they would come to his assistance in a very short time.

Now occurred a famous incident in the career of this noted explorer, an
incident as famous as the passage of the Rubicon by Julius Cæsar, and
of the Alps by the redoubtable Napoleon Bonaparte. Pizarro, indeed, was
determined to press on, for he had in him an adventurous soul and the
wealth which he had seen at the Bay of St. Matthew had fired his zeal
and cupidity.

“Comrades,” said he to his men, “I understand that many of you would
put back from this hazardous enterprise. As for me, I intend to go

Then, seizing his sword, he drew a line upon the sand from east to
west, for all were collected upon the beach.

“On this side,” he continued, pointing to the south, “are toil, hunger,
the drenching storm, desertion, and death; on that side, ease and
pleasure. Here lies Peru with its riches; there is Panama and its
poverty! Choose each man what best becomes a brave Castilian! For my
part I go to the south!”

So saying, he stepped across the line and was quickly followed by Ruiz,
Pedro de Candia, and eleven other adventurous souls. The remainder
made no movement, so Tafur sailed away with them, next day, leaving a
goodly portion of his provisions to help out those who determined to
cast their fortunes with the danger-loving Pizarro.

Now, constructing a raft, the adventurous Castilian transported his men
to an island which lay farther north. There were pheasants and rabbits
here, and also swarms of gnats, flies and mosquitoes. The rain fell
incessantly, and, although the Spaniards built rude huts in order to
keep out the water, they had hard work to be comfortable. For seven
months they thus lived, until Almagro arrived from Panama, with only
just enough men on board to work the vessel, and with commands from the
Governor for Pizarro to report immediately at the Isthmus.

In spite of this mandate, the adventurous Spaniards headed the vessel
for the southern coast, soon came in view of a great gulf, the Gulf of
Guayaquil, and saw, far above them, the snowy crests of the towering
mountains: the Cordilleras. Between these and the sea-coast, lay a
narrow strip of land, which was highly cultivated by the natives. Some
of these Pizarro persuaded to accompany him, and he left one of his own
company, who was fair of complexion and wore a long beard, to learn the
language of the Indians, so that he could act as an interpreter upon
his return. He also took several of the native sheep, or llamas—“the
little camels”—to exhibit to those who would doubt his story at
Panama, or in Spain, for he had decided if necessary to seek assistance
from the King.

The natives received these fair-skinned navigators with kindness and
much curiosity, for the armor, guns, and horses of these so-called
“Children of the Sun” greatly interested the gentle Peruvians. Several
of the Spaniards penetrated into the interior, and came back with
wondrous tales of temples filled with gold and silver ornaments. So
Pizarro was determined, upon his return to Panama, to gather a force
sufficient to conquer the entire country, for his desire for wealth and
the power which this brings, was quite similar to that of those who
penetrate the arid wastes of Nevada, at the present day, or search for
the precious metal amidst the hemlock-forests of Alaska.

Now, satisfied that a rich and populous kingdom lay before him, Pizarro
turned about and sailed northward, and, after an absence of a year and
a half, once more talked with the irate Governor of Panama. As he was
supposed to have perished with all his men, the representative of the
Spanish King was quite considerate in his treatment of him; but, when
Pizarro asked for further assistance in his scheme for the conquest
of Peru, the Governor seemed to have other use for his money and his

“What do I care?” cried the adventurer, in some heat. “I can visit the
King of Spain and he will help me, I know. I am determined to succeed.”

This man, you see, had the power of will. Although he had suffered
hardship, mental anguish, famine; he was certain that he could become
master of the gentle Peruvians, and so was determined to crush any
obstacles which came in his path and obstructed this ambition. So
far, his conduct had been noble, his treatment of his friends and
companions had been just, his own cheerfulness and self control had
been commendable. Let us see how he conducted himself, when he had
secured that for which he sought?

Taking passage for Spain, he appeared at the Spanish Court with two
or three llamas, several natives, and specimens of the woolen cloth
and gold and silver ornaments of the Peruvians, to bear witness to
his tales of this wonderful country. The King lent a ready ear to
his request for assistance; he was empowered to conquer and take
possession of Peru in the name of Spain; and was requested to transport
many priests along with him, in order to convert the Indians to the
Roman Catholic religion. The ignorant swine-herd, in fact, had become
a man of some merit and mark, which so greatly pleased his four
half-brothers—who possessed the high-sounding names of Hernando,
Gonzalo, Juan, and Francisco de Alcantara—that they all desired to
follow him to this land of the llama and the snow-capped mountains.

“Hurray for brother Francisco,” said they. “He will make us all rich!
Hurray and God be with him!”

Finally, two hundred and fifty men were gathered for the conquest of
Peru. The Pizarros set sail for Panama—it was a family party now—and
soon all were again upon the shores of the New World. Three ships were
speedily loaded with equipment and provisions, and, with one hundred
and eighty followers and twenty-seven horses, the Spanish free-booters
and adventurers sailed for the Bay of St. Matthew. They landed, and
immediately started operations in the usual high-handed and brutal
manner of the Spanish conqueror.

The little band of cut-throats went ashore and advanced along the
coast, while the three ships drifted along in a parallel line, keeping
as close inshore as discretion would permit. When the Castilians
reached a town of some importance, they would rush in upon the
inhabitants, sword in hand, and would cut down all who opposed them.
The poor, frightened natives would run away tumultuously, while the
Pizarro brothers, and other Castilian robbers, would collect all the
gold and silver ornaments that they could find. Many emeralds were also
secured, which were sent to the ships, and back to Panama, in order
to impress those who were left behind with the fact that the army was
really accomplishing something. It was also done for the effect that it
would produce upon the irate and unaccommodating Governor.

The Spaniards suffered greatly from the heat, for the sun beat
upon their iron breastplates and quilted cotton doublets with most
uncomfortable fury. In spite of this, they kept on, and, as they
advanced, the natives fled before them.

They spent the rainy season upon an island; but, when the weather grew
clear again, being reënforced by a hundred volunteers from Panama and
more horses, they again crossed to the mainland and resumed their
former operations.

They advanced to the town of Tumbez, expecting to find a rich and
populous city; but, greatly to their surprise, they saw that this
Peruvian stronghold had been burned and abandoned, owing to a recent
disagreement between the inhabitants and the followers of the Inca.
This ruler, Atahuallpa Capac, had fallen out with his brother, Huascar,
and had advanced into his country in order to humiliate him and to
become master of all Peru. Pizarro immediately made up his mind to
march and capture the Inca Atahuallpa, himself, and to seize all of
Peru for the Crown of Spain.

Some years before, the country had been conquered by a native soldier
and statesman, named Huayna Capac, who left three sons: Huascar,
the heir, and son of the Queen; Manco Capac, a half-brother; and
Atahuallpa, a son of the Princess Quito. At the death of Huayna Capac,
the kingdom was divided into two parts; Huascar succeeding to the
empire of Peru, Atahuallpa to the empire of Quito. The latter was of a
warlike disposition; the former was gentle and retiring. They thus did
not long remain at peace with one another, for, Atahuallpa coveted the
land of his brother, advanced to take it, and, after a great battle,
in which he was victorious, overran, with his adherents, all the
territory of his rival. This had all happened only a short time before
Pizarro had landed, and the ruins of Tumbez bore full witness to the
ruthlessness of the Inca’s wrath.

The conqueror, it was said, was but twelve days’ journey inland, so the
Castilians struck boldly into the country, where they were everywhere
received with hospitality by the natives. The invaders were now careful
to give no offense, for they were very few and were surrounded by many
thousands, who could quickly annihilate them, should they so wish.

An Indian gave Pizarro a scroll, as they advanced, upon which had
been written: “Know, whoever you may be, that may chance to set foot
in this country, that it contains more silver and gold than there is
iron in Biscay.” This was shown to the soldiers, but they laughed
good-humoredly at it, believing that it was only a device of their
leader to give them confidence and hope.

Pizarro halted his men, after five days of marching, and told them that
the expedition was to be a hazardous one and that those who wished to
retire could do so. Nine of the soldiers availed themselves of this
opportunity to turn away from what lay in front, and, thus rid of what
would undoubtedly be a dangerous element, the daring explorer pressed
onward. He reached the foot of the great mountains which tower above
the plains of Peru, and, sending forward a cavalier to speak with
Atahuallpa, received word from this native ruler that he would be
delighted to entertain the Spaniards at his camp in the mountains.

The little army now toiled up the steep slopes of the Cordilleras and
came to many fortresses of stone which overhung their path, and where
a mere handful of men, with little difficulty, could have barred their
way. All was quiet and deserted, for luck was with this adventurer,
and finally his band of treasure-seekers reached the summit of the
mountains. An Indian messenger appeared from the Inca, who requested
that he be informed when the Spaniards would reach Caxamalca, where
they were to be entertained by the proud and imperious Atahuallpa.
The messenger spoke glowingly of the might of his master; but Pizarro
assured him that the King of Spain was the mightiest monarch under
the sun, and that his servants would convince the Inca that they bore
nothing but messages of good will from their master in far distant

The Spaniards marched onward for two days, then began to descend the
eastern side of the Cordilleras, where they met a second envoy from the
Inca. Seven days later the valley of Caxamalca lay before them, and,
to the startled eyes of these adventurers, came the vision of several
miles of white tents: those of the Inca’s followers. Pizarro put on
a bold front, marched towards the encampment, and, sending forward a
cavalier with thirty-five horsemen to the Inca’s pavilion, entered the
outskirts of the town of Caxamalca. The Peruvian nobility was in the
courtyard, so, tramping onward, the Spanish adventurers passed through
a long line of nobles to where Atahuallpa himself sat upon a low stool,
distinguished by a crimson ribbon bound around his forehead, which he
had placed there after the defeat of his brother, Huascar.

Pizarro rode up to the monarch of the Peruvian wilds, and, bowing in
a lowly and respectful manner, informed him that he was the subject
of the mighty Prince across the ocean, and that, attracted by the
report of the warlike prowess of the Inca, he had come to offer him his
services and those of his men, and to impart to him the doctrines of
true faith, which they professed. He also invited Atahuallpa to visit
him in his own encampment.

The Inca seemed to be dazed, and listened with his eyes fixed upon the
ground. One of his nobles then said: “It is well.”

“Can you not speak for yourself,” asked Pizarro, turning to the Inca,
“and tell me what is your desire?”

At this the proud native smiled faintly, and replied, through an

“I am keeping a fast which will end to-morrow morning. I will then
visit you. In the meantime, pray occupy the public buildings on the
square and no other, until I order what shall be done.”

Pizarro bowed. At that moment one of his soldiers, who was mounted upon
a fiery steed, touched it with his spurs and galloped away. Whirling
around, he dashed back through the crowd of natives and drew rein
before the immobile Atahuallpa, who never, for an instant, lost his
composure. Several of his soldiers, however, shrank back in manifest
terror as this strange creature passed by, for such a wonderful animal
had never been seen before in this country. The Spaniards now left,
and, after they had departed, all of those who had shown fear of the
galloping horse in the presence of the strangers, were put to death by
order of the Inca.

That night Pizarro perfected his plan for the capture of Atahuallpa. He
saw that, should he give battle to the Inca in the open field, it would
doubtless end in disastrous defeat for the Spaniards, as the natives
far out-numbered this handful of Castilians. His only chance for
victory seemed to be to capture the Inca, to hold him prisoner, and
to intimidate the vast horde of natives, by threat of death to their
ruler, if they attacked the Spanish invaders. He therefore determined
to entice the native to the building in which he and his men were
lodged, which was built upon a square courtyard. His soldiers were to
remain hidden around the central court, and, when Atahuallpa and his
retainers should be in the very middle of the square, the Spaniards
were to rush in upon him, and, putting the Peruvians to the sword, were
to seize the unfortunate native ruler and hold him fast. This was the
bold conception of this heartless adventurer, a veritable dare-devil,
whose conscience was free from the lofty and proper conceptions of
brotherly love.

The night was a quiet one. The Spaniards made a careful inspection
of their arms and equipment, loaded all their guns, and stationed
themselves at the places designated by their artful leader. At dawn
they were ready, but it was late in the day before the Inca approached.
He was preceded by a native courier, who informed Pizarro that his
master was coming armed, even as the Spaniards had come to him.

“Tell your master,” said the Castilian, “that come as he may, I will
receive him as a friend and a brother.”

Shortly afterwards the procession approached. First came a large number
of natives, who had brooms in their hands and who swept all rubbish
from the roadway. Then came a crowd of Peruvian soldiers. In their
center the Inca was carried aloft upon a litter, surrounded by his
nobles, who wore quantities of golden ornaments which glittered and
gleamed in the sunshine. The Peruvian army followed, and, when they
had all arrived within half a mile of the gate to the city, Pizarro was
startled to see them halt. They seemed to be preparing to encamp, and
a runner came to the courtyard, stating that the Inca had decided to
delay his entrance into the city until the following morning.

“Tell your master,” said Pizarro, “that I have provided a feast for his
entertainment, and that my followers will be grievously disappointed if
he does not come to visit us this day.”

The runner went away, and Pizarro beat his foot upon the floor in
anxious solicitude, for, should the Inca not come at this time, he
feared that he would not be able to control his own followers, who had
been under arms since daylight.

To the delight of the Spanish, a second runner now approached, who
announced that the Inca would meet the white men; but would bring into
the town with him only a few unarmed warriors. Pizarro breathed easier,
and then inspected his followers, finding that all were in their places
and eager for the attack.

The day was wearing to a close. Deep shadows from the gabled ends
of the ancient buildings fell upon the courtyard, as the Peruvians,
chanting their songs of triumph, entered the city gate and
unsuspectingly marched onward to their destruction. Atahuallpa was in
an open litter, lined with the brilliantly colored plumes of tropical
birds and studded with burnished plates of gold and of silver. Around
his neck hung a collar of large and brilliant emeralds. His dress was
of the richest silk. At this time he was about thirty years of age and
had a fine frame, a large and handsome head; but bloodshot eyes, which
gave him a fierce and vindictive appearance. His bearing was calm, yet
dignified, and he gazed upon the natives about him as one accustomed to
command. He was surrounded by nobles, who were clad in blue uniforms
studded with gold.

The procession entered the great square of the house which had been
assigned to the Spaniard, but not a Castilian soldier was there. Only
a priest, Father Valverde, Pizarro’s Chaplain, was to be seen. He came
forward, bible in hand, and, walking to the Inca’s litter, began to
explain to him the doctrines of the Christian religion.

“The Pope at Rome has commissioned the Emperor of Spain to conquer
and to convert the inhabitants of this western world,” said he to the
Inca, “and I beseech you, therefore, to embrace the Christian faith and
acknowledge yourself a tributary to the Emperor Charles of Spain, who
will aid and protect you as a loyal vassal.”

As he spoke, fire flashed from the eyes of Atahuallpa, and he answered:
“I will be no man’s tributary. I am far greater than any Prince on
earth. Your own Emperor may be a great prince, I do not doubt it when
I see that he has sent his subjects so far across the waters, and I am
willing to hold him as a brother. As for the Pope of whom you speak,
he must certainly be insane to give away countries which do not belong
to him. As for my faith, I will not change it. Your own God, you say,
was put to death by the very men whom he trusted, but mine”—here he
stretched out his hand towards the setting sun—“my God still lives in
the heavens and looks down upon his children. By what authority, man of
Spain, do you say these things?”

The friar pointed to the well-worn bible which he held in his hand.

The Inca took it, looked at it for an instant, and then threw it
violently down, exclaiming: “Tell your comrades that they shall give
an account of their doings in my land. I will not go from here until
they have given me full satisfaction for all the wrongs which they have

This startled Valverde, and, rushing to Pizarro, he cried out:

“Do you not see that, while we stand here wasting our breath in talking
with this dog—full of pride as he is—the fields behind him are
filling up with his Indian allies? Set upon him at once, I absolve you.”

Pizarro smiled, for he saw that the moment to strike had arrived. So he
waved a white scarf, a gun was fired as a signal for the attack, and
from every opening, the Spaniards poured into the great square, sword
in hand, shouting their old battle-cry: “St. Iago and at them!”

A few cannon, which they had dragged up the mountain slopes with much
stress and difficulty, were turned upon the startled Peruvians, and
were discharged. The Indians were unarmed and were taken totally by
surprise. Stunned by the noise of the artillery and blinded with
smoke, they rushed hither and thither in confusion, as the Spanish
free-booters pressed in upon every side.

Fierce and agonizing cries went up from the courtyard, as nobles and
Peruvian soldiers were ruthlessly cut down and trampled under the feet
of the Spanish horsemen. So great, indeed, was the impact of these
writhing Indians when they were pressed back against the wall of clay
and stone, which surrounded the courtyard, that they broke through it,
and, clambering over the débris, rushed headlong into the open country,
hotly pursued in every direction by the Castilian cavalrymen, who cut
them down with their sharp broadswords.

Meanwhile, what of the Inca, for the possession of whose body the
invaders were making such a desperate effort?

Atahuallpa sat as if stunned. His litter was forced this way and
that by the swaying throng, while his native attendants faithfully
endeavored to defend him. As fast as one was cut down, another took his
place, and, with their dying grasp, they clung to the bridles of the
cavaliers in a vain endeavor to keep them away from the body of their
sacred master. Fearing that the Inca might escape in the darkness, a
few cavaliers now dashed in, in an attempt to end the battle by taking
the life of the Peruvian chieftain; but Pizarro saw this action, and
cried out: “Let no man who values his life strike at the Inca!”

As he spoke, he stretched out his arm in order to shield him, and
received a wound in the hand from one of his own men. This, strange to
relate, is said to be the only wound received by any Spaniard during
the entire action.

The litter was now overturned, and Atahuallpa would have fallen
violently to the ground, had not Pizarro and two of his soldiers caught
the now humiliated chieftain in their arms. A soldier immediately
snatched the crimson ribbon from his forehead. The helpless Peruvian
monarch was taken to the nearest building and was carefully guarded,
while his followers ceased their fruitless struggle and ran away as
fast as they were able. The Castilian horsemen pursued them, until
night fell, and the sound of the trumpet recalled them to the square at
Caxamalca. It is recorded that many thousand of the Indians lay dead
about the city, while not a single Spaniard had forfeited his life in
this sharp but important engagement.

The Spaniards now had the Inca in their possession; but they were very
few, in a great country, and surrounded by enemies. Atahuallpa seemed
to be resigned to his unfortunate position; but he was determined to
gain his freedom, if possible. He saw that gold was what his captors
chiefly desired, and decided to try to buy his freedom, for he feared
that Huascar might wrest the kingdom from him when he discovered that
his brother was in captivity. He therefore promised Pizarro that he
would fill the room in which they stood with gold, if he would but set
him free.

“I will stuff with gold this chamber in which we stand,” said he. “Not
only will I cover the floor with it, but I will pile it up to a line
drawn around the walls as high as you can reach.”

Pizarro was dumb-founded, for the room was seventeen feet broad by
twenty-two feet long, and the line upon the wall was nine feet high.
He was still more affected when the Inca agreed to fill a smaller
room, adjoining this one, with silver twice over, if he were given two
months’ time.

The Spaniard decided to accept, for, should Atahuallpa really do this,
he could even then make way with him and still have possession of the

“Go ahead,” he remarked. “When you have fulfilled your contract, you
shall have your freedom.”

Alas for the Inca! He did not know that treachery was the chief trait
of all these Spanish adventurers.

The collection of the treasure went rapidly on, while Atahuallpa
remained in the Spanish quarters, treated with great consideration,
but strictly guarded. He even learned to play chess, and, although
closely watched, was allowed to see his subjects freely. His dress was
sometimes of vicuña wool, sometimes of bats’ skins which were velvety
sleek. He changed this often, but nothing which he had worn could be
used by another, and, when he laid a robe aside, it was burned.

Huascar, meanwhile, had heard of Atahuallpa’s capture and this roused
in him a hope that he could regain his own kingdom, of which he had
been recently despoiled. He sent word, therefore, to Pizarro, that,
should the Spaniards wish it, he could pay a far greater ransom than
his brother. He would expect to be reinstated to the chief command
after this had been done.

News of this came to Atahuallpa, who also learned that Pizarro had said
that Huascar should be brought to Caxamalca, so that he, himself, might
determine which of the two brothers had a better right to the scepter
of the Incas. This aroused in him a furious jealousy, and, fearing that
the claims of his brother might be respected, he ordered secretly that
Huascar should be put to death by his guards as he approached. He was
accordingly drowned in the river Andamapa, as he neared Caxamalca.

“The white men will avenge my murder,” said he, with his dying
breath, “and my brother will find that he will not long survive my

He was quite correct in this surmise, for the Spaniards grew suspicious
of the Inca, and pretended to believe that he was arranging a general
uprising among the Peruvians against the white men. When the treasure
had nearly all been collected, they demanded that Pizarro should
disburse it among them, which was done, after the golden vases and
ornaments had been melted down into solid bars. What do you think? It
was worth nearly three and a half million pounds sterling, or seventeen
million five hundred thousand dollars ($17,500,000.00).

This distribution practically ruined the soldiers. They squandered it
recklessly, or lost it over dice and cards. Very few were wise enough
to return to Spain in order to enjoy their ill-gotten spoils in their
native country, and one, indeed, lost a portion of one of the great
golden images of the Sun, taken from the chief temple, in a single
night of gaming; whence came the famous Spanish proverb: “He plays away
the sun before sunrise!”


The wild and reckless Castilians, drunk with gold and sudden power,
clamored for the life of the unhappy Inca, for rumors reached them
that an immense army was mustering at Quito to attack them. Atahuallpa
denied any knowledge of this, but his protestations of innocence did
him little good. Pizarro, taking advantage of the absence of some
of the cavaliers who would have defended the poor, helpless Indian,
ordered him to be brought to instant trial. Several brown-skinned
witnesses were produced, who gave testimony which sealed his doom; and,
in spite of the fact that a few of the Spaniards staunchly stood up for
him, he was found guilty of having assassinated his brother Huascar, of
raising an insurrection against the invaders, and was sentenced to be
burned alive.

The miserable Inca, when informed of his impending fate, lost, for a
moment, his courage, which had heretofore never deserted him.

“What have I or my children done,” said he to Pizarro, “that I should
meet such a doom? And, from your hands, too! You who have met with
nothing but friendship and kindness from my people, and who have
received nothing but benefits from my hands.”

In piteous wails he begged for his life.

“I promise to pay double the ransom already given you, if you will but
spare me,” said he.

It was all of no avail. After he had consented to give up his own
religion and be baptized, he was executed, as the Spaniards were
accustomed to put all their prisoners to death,—by strangulation.

Pizarro had no easy time after this. Although Almagro had arrived with
reënforcements, there was serious trouble with all the Indians in the
country. Freed of the power which governed them, they broke into fierce
excesses, the remote provinces threw off their allegiance to the Incas,
the great captains of distant armies set up for themselves, gold and
silver acquired a new importance in their eyes; it was eagerly seized
and hidden in caves and in forests. All Peru was in an uproar.

Thus it remained for many years until, at last, the Spaniards
successfully defeated all the native forces and secured the country to
their own dominion. But now they began to fight among themselves for
the possession of the fruitful land. Almagro lived to be seventy years
of age, after a life of continual battle and adventure. Finally he was
put to death by Hernando Pizarro, the brother of Francisco, who had
followed him here from Spain. The murderer also dispatched his son,
but he himself was imprisoned in Madrid for these acts. He lived for
many years after his release, some say to be a hundred. Francisco’s
other brother, Gonzalo, was beheaded in Peru for rebelling against the
Spanish emperor.

As for Francisco, that swine-herd who had conquered the fair land of
Peru and had let no obstacle stand in the way of his chosen purpose,
he, himself, came to no peaceful end. Brutal, remorseless, ambitious,
greedy, it was only natural, that, when he had acquired power, he
should stir up enemies even among his own people. In the lovely
month of June, 1541, he was murdered in his own house at Lima by the
desperate followers of the young Almagro, or the “Men of Chili,”
as they called themselves. Secretly and hastily he was buried by a
few faithful servants in an obscure corner of the cathedral, and
thus miserably ended the life of this man of adventurous spirit and
desperate courage.

One cannot but admire the will-power of this Castilian, his serene
calmness in time of danger, and his indifference to physical suffering.
But his ruthlessness and cruelty to the Inca, his vindictive lust for
riches, his lack of feeling for the inoffensive natives, can give him
no such position in the Hall of Fame as is held by a Lincoln, a Gordon,
or a George Washington.

Peace to your restless and ambitious soul, Francisco Pizarro!




  “_Through the muddied lagoon we clambered, through the mire, the
       slime, and the muck;_
  _O’er hills and valleys we hastened, through the creeks where our
       cannon stuck._
  _We were stung by the fierce mosquitoes, and were mocked by the
       chattering jay;_
  _But we hewed and hacked a passage through the grass where the
       moccasin lay._
  _Fever, and heat, and ague were friends of our ceaseless toil,_
  _And many a brave Castilian was interred ’neath the friendless soil._
  _We searched for the El Dorado, yet no gilded man found we,_
  _Instead, a bed for our numberless dead, near the sob of the
       sun-gilded sea._”





IN the old Spanish town of Seville, at the time when Pizarro and his
numerous brothers were conquering the gentle Peruvians, the streets
were often filled with the adventurers who had returned from Mexico,
Panama, and South America, laden with the treasures of plundered
cities. Among these successful cavaliers, no one had a more gallant
bearing, or a more captivating presence, than Hernando de Soto, who had
been with the Castilian troops in their battles upon the lofty Peruvian

When the rapacious Spaniards had divided the ransom of the helpless
Atahuallpa, which amounted to such a fabulous sum, the ambitious De
Soto’s share, it is said, was fully a million dollars of our own money.
You see, therefore, that, when he returned to Spain, he could set up a
princely establishment and was one of the most important citizens of
the country. But, dissatisfied with the humdrum life of the civilized
community in which he had hoped to end his days, he longed to go once
more to this New World and discover other cities and other mines of
treasure. He therefore asked the King to allow him to undertake an
expedition at his own expense, for he was so rich in worldly goods
that he had no need of financial assistance from the throne, which all
the other discoverers and explorers has been seriously in need of.
None, in fact, could have succeeded in their hazardous enterprises
without the aid of the Castilian gold.

Romance is a vast assistance to exploration. Men look towards
the unknown, wonder what is there, and, in order to verify their
conjectures, go and explore. They bring back many stories. This element
was of great aid to the daring Cavalier, for a fanciful legend was then
current in Spain to the effect, that, in that far-distant America, was
a country so rich in gold, that its King was completely gilded. He was
known as El Dorado, the gilded man, and it became generally believed
that this Kingdom of the Gilded Man lay somewhere in that vast,
unexplored region, then called Florida.

The King of Spain appointed De Soto Governor of this fabled country,
and decreed that he should have the power to subdue and to rule it.
When it became known that the famous cavalier was about to start
for the New World, recruits flocked to his standard, and both high
and low-born vied with each other to gain a place in his company of
explorers. Men of noble birth even sold their estates in order to
properly equip themselves for this expedition, as they expected to
duplicate the experiences of the cavaliers in Peru and in Mexico. Many
a tradesman, also, parted with his little shop in order to purchase
armor, guns, and supplies for the great undertaking. The conquest of
Florida was the talk of the hour and was upon every lip. It was a
popular enterprise.

One beautifully clear morning in Spring a fleet of white-winged
galleons swept from the harbor of Seville. Crowds lined the quays, and,
although a faint cheer or two was heard, there were many gloomy faces,
for there was a multitude of disappointed aspirants who could not find
a vacant place upon the overcrowded ships. Bugles blared a parting
salute, the yellow flag of Spain was dipped into the blue Atlantic, and
with cries of “Adios! We will find El Dorado!” the cheering followers
of this swashbuckling hero of that day, gazed eagerly towards the now
well-known passage to the Spanish Main. It was more like a monster
picnic party than a serious expedition.

The Spaniards landed at Cuba, where they delayed for nearly a year, and
passed their time in a round of balls, tilting-matches and bullfights.
After having enjoyed themselves to the full, they again embarked and
headed for Florida, landing upon the beach at Tampa, where the American
troops who were to wrest Cuba from the Spanish rule, set out for the
harbor of Santiago, in the summer of 1898. All were cheerful and happy,
eagerly looking forward to the not far distant time when they would
find rich and populous cities to be sacked and looted in the same
manner that they had despoiled the Peruvian and Mexican strongholds.

Fearing no enemy, about three hundred of them went ashore and encamped
near the beach. They christened the bay, The Bay of the Holy Spirit;
and yet they were to find no Holy Spirit nestling behind the solemn
palm trees which grew almost down to the sand, for, as they lay in
fanciful security, suddenly the thicket rang with the wild war-whoops
of the native Floridians, and a horde of dusky forms rushed in among
them, shooting arrows and striking with sharp, stone tomahawks.

All was now a scene of terror and confusion. A few of the Spaniards ran
to the water’s edge, shrilly blowing upon their trumpets in order to
attract those left upon the ships. Others cried loudly for help, and,
piling into the longboats, their comrades hastened to their assistance,
leaped upon the sand, and, with a fierce battle-cry, drove the Indians
pell-mell into the sheltering palms. Thereafter the Castilians were
most careful to establish a picket-post around their encampments, for
they had suffered severely in this first encounter.

The boats were now unloaded, many of the larger vessels were sent
back to Cuba, while the smaller craft, or caravels, were kept for the
service of the army. A number of men were left on guard at Tampa, while
the remainder set off into the forest, heading towards the northeast.
They had not gone far before they came upon a white man, who was
none other than a lonely survivor of a previous expedition, led by a
Spaniard called Narváez. His name was Juan Ortiz. He had been with the
Indians for a long time, as he had been very young when captured by
the natives. They had spared his life because of the intercession of a
chief’s daughter. Since this lucky proceeding, which was quite similar
to that of Pocohontas and John Rolfe, he had lived with a neighboring
tribe. The Spaniards were delighted to secure his services as a guide
and interpreter.

When the followers of Pizarro had reached Peru they had immediately
found gold among the natives. You know that this is what they were
after and what they seized upon with greedy fingers. Not so in
palm-studded Florida. For, as the mail-clad invaders pushed into this
barren and sandy country, they found no gold and no splendid cities
with temples filled with jeweled images. After marching for hours
through interminable pine forests and floundering through dense swamps,
where the natives shot at them with poisoned arrows from behind trees,
and harassed and slew them as they splashed through the mire and deep
water, they found nothing but deserted villages and a few aged Indians
who were too decrepit to make their escape.

This naturally angered the adventurers. Those who had sold their
property in order to join in this hazardous expedition, began to be
sorry that they had ever left the peaceful soil of old Castile. Those
who had sacrificed good positions to take a chance in the search of
this El Dorado, began to bewail their coming, and to bemoan the fact
that they had listened to the sweet strains of romance which had been
woven over these expeditions into the unknown.

The fabled El Dorado could be no gilded chieftain, he was a gilded
fool. Alas that they ever left the gray cobbled streets of ancient

Yet on, on, they toiled wearily, ever hoping to find the gold which
never came to view. They finally approached a native village which was
filled with warriors of mettle, for they were furiously attacked. A
shower of arrows fell among them, but, little heeding these missiles,
the Spaniards discharged their guns, and, rushing upon the patriotic
Indians, easily routed them. Many of the poor redskins took refuge in
a pond and swam out so that they could not be reached. The Spaniards
immediately surrounded the water and awaited developments. A historian
of the period says:

“Nine hundred Indians took to the pond, and, all day long, continued to
swim around shouting defiance and mounting on each other’s shoulders in
order to shoot their arrows. Night came, and not one had surrendered;
midnight, and still not one. At ten o’clock the next day, after
twenty-four hours in the water, some two hundred came out, all stiff
and cold. Others followed. The last seven would not give up, but were
dragged out unconscious by the Spaniards, who swam in after them, when
they had been thirty hours in the water, without touching bottom. Then
the humane invaders exerted themselves to warm and restore to life
these unfortunate people.”

In spite of this kind treatment, the men from Castile put irons on many
of these natives, and took them along with them, so that they would
have slaves to transport their baggage, pound their corn, and serve
them when in camp. A soldier, who has written of this journey, says
that, upon one occasion, the enslaved prisoners rose against their
masters and tried to massacre them, but the Spaniards crushed this
attempt, brought the helpless Indians to the village square, and caused
them to be hacked to pieces by their halberdiers, or swordsmen. You can
readily see that these invaders were making no happy impression upon
simple-minded Americans.


The Spaniards were now in the country of Apalachee, which was then, as
it is to-day, a land of agriculture, with well-tilled fields of corn,
of pumpkins and beans, and with a farm-loving population of red men.
The Castilians seized all the provisions which they needed for their
journey, and, when the Indians objected, slew them mercilessly, but not
without the loss of many of their own people.

Although the majority of the party were much dissatisfied with the
fact that they had not discovered gold, De Soto seemed to be satisfied
with the outlook. A few men were sent to the south in order to find
the ocean, and came back with the report that they had run upon a
magnificent harbor: the Bay of Pensacola. They had also seen the skulls
of horses on the beach, these being the remains of those killed by
the Spanish explorer, Narváez, who had fed the flesh to his men while
engaged in building boats for their departure from this country. De
Soto ordered a vessel to set sail for Cuba, stating that he had met
with great success, was much pleased with the outlook, and wished more
men and horses.

This was all very well for the provisional Governor, but still no
gold had been found, and the soldiers were discouraged and disgusted
with this lack of success. Eagerly they listened to the tales of two
Indian boys who undertook to guide them to a region where they would
find gold in abundance; the land of the Cofachiqui. It was towards the
northeast, said the lads, so the Spaniards set out in that direction,
expecting to find a city similar to Tumbez in Peru, and also El
Dorado, the golden man, sitting upon a throne of solid golden ingots.
Accordingly, they set out to cross the territory which is now the State
of Georgia. It was a pleasant, fruitful land, inhabited by a peaceable
and kindly people, who entertained them hospitably in their villages,
and furnished them generously with food. The Spaniards had no need of
resorting to their usual cruel methods, and the chiefs gave them guides
and porters so that they could more easily pass on.

But see how crafty and keen these old Indians were!

A certain chieftain offered to furnish the travelers with guides and
with porters. The Castilians eagerly accepted the offer, but so many
armed warriors assembled in order to go with them, that the Spaniards
suspected them of meditating treachery, and thus watched them very
closely. The Indians seemed to travel along peacefully enough; but,
when the village of Cofachiqui was reached, and the Spanish soldiers
had gone to sleep, their redskinned guides and porters fell upon the
unsuspecting natives, who lived there, and massacred all upon whom they
could lay their hands. This, indeed, had been a war-party in disguise,
which had taken a clever method of invading the territory of a tribe
which was hostile to them, and which heretofore they had been afraid to
attack. The affair took place at a distance of between thirty or forty
miles below the present city of Augusta, Georgia.

Still the travelers kept on and on. Ever were their thoughts upon gold,
and yet no gold seemed to appear, nor did the natives seem to possess
any of the precious metal. After they had crossed a broad river, they
found a well-to-do race of natives in a well-tilled country, governed
by a young woman who received them with great kindness and gave them
corn, pork, and sweet potatoes. She also presented them with pearls, of
which she had a great quantity, as they were found in the shell-fish in
the streams. De Soto saw little value in these stones, and, although he
was invited to carry away all that he could, he refused to take more
than fifty pounds, as a sample to show to the Cubans when he should
return. He was also presented with a herd of hogs, which he drove off
before him towards the west.

The climate was not unhealthy, and so the Castilians had an easy time
of it. They wandered through upper Georgia, across the mountains into
lower Tennessee, and then into the present State of Alabama. As vessels
from Cuba were expected to meet them with re-enforcements and supplies,
they now headed for Pensacola Bay.

At a place called Choctaw Bluff, not far from the present city of
Mobile, they came to an Indian town presided over by a fierce chieftain
by the name of Tuscaloosa, which means Black Warrior. This village
had the sweet-sounding name of Mauvila. It was surrounded by a high
palisade, which was chinked and plastered with mud, and, besides this,
there were slits in the sides of the walls, so that those who defended
it could shoot through at an attacking party.

De Soto rode ahead of the main body of Castilians with about a
hundred horsemen. They were clad in doublets and trousers, with steel
caps, breast plates and greaves upon their legs. As it was warm,
most of this armor was slung to their saddles with cords, while the
cavaliers trotted along joyously, chanting many an old Spanish song,
and laughing and jesting with one another, for they were having a
pleasant journey, even though no gold had been discovered. Reaching the
sleepy little village of these southern Indians, they were met by the
chief, Tuscaloosa, who appeared to be most friendly and asked them to
enter and have a feast. Fearing nothing, and remembering the pleasant
reception which they had received while marching through Georgia, they
trotted gayly forward, while De Soto chatted with the chief by means of
a native interpreter.

They rode to a position near the palisade, and then, dismounting, went
inside in order to greet the inhabitants. Here was a large Indian town
and hundreds of women, who greeted them in a friendly manner and waved
their hands. Almost immediately a blow was struck. The Spaniards say
that they were enticed into the palisade on purpose, and in order that
they might be slaughtered by thousands of warriors who were hidden
behind the wigwams, and had been summoned thither from the surrounding
country. This is hardly probable, for, had the Indians contemplated
a battle, they would certainly have first removed their children. No
doubt a hot-headed Castilian started all the trouble. At any rate
the soldiers from Seville were soon engaged in a fierce hand-to-hand
encounter with a vast concourse of howling savages.

There was a fearful battle. The cavaliers had fortunately donned their
armor, after dismounting from their horses, and it was well, for a
shower of sharp-pointed arrows fell amongst them. A horde of Indians
swarmed from their houses and swept the invaders before them, driving
them in a struggling mass through the narrow entrance to the palisade.
The Castilians ran to their horses and hastily mounted, but some were
so hard-pressed by the natives that they were unable to get into
their saddles, while their patient steeds, struck with a shower of
arrows, broke away and ran frantically into the woods. In spite of the
confusion and uproar, the Spaniards kept cool, and, although driven to
a distance, formed a battle line and came back, pressing the native
bowmen before them. With fixed lances they charged into the yelping
mob, only to be met with splendid courage by the native soldiers.

De Soto bore himself right valiantly and led his men, using his long,
sharp lance with deadly effect. His soldiers, too, were not laggards
in the attack, and followed him closely, shouting the Spanish battle
cry: “St. Iago and at them!” Many were sorely wounded. De Soto himself,
as he leaned forward to make a lance thrust, received an arrow in the
exposed portion of his thigh. This made it impossible for him to sit
down, so, throughout the remainder of the day, he rode, standing in his

Several of the more prominent Castilians were shot dead. The Spanish
leader’s brother, Diego de Soto, was pierced through the eye by an
arrow, which came out at the back of his neck. A young cavalier, called
Carlo Enriquez, who had married the Governor of Florida’s niece,
leaned over the neck of his horse in order to pull out an arrow from
the animal’s breast, and thus exposed his throat, which was instantly
pierced by an Indian barb, so that he fell prostrate. Thus the battle
raged furiously, while shrill trumpets blared out the distress of the
Spaniards and summoned their easy-riding comrades to come speedily to
their assistance.

The greater portion of De Soto’s troop were jogging peacefully along
in the sunshine, little realizing into what a desperate strait their
advance guard had fallen. Late in the afternoon they approached the
Indian village and were much surprised to see dense volumes of smoke
rising to the sky. Those in advance sent back word to hurry on, while
they galloped forward in order to see what was amiss. All hurried
towards the sound of battle, and, now, realizing that their comrades
were in a desperate fight, they rushed to their assistance, cheering
wildly as they did so. The black smoke was pouring from the thatched
Indian houses, which the Spaniards had set on fire, and a bloody
hand-to-hand engagement was in progress around the smoking débris.
The main body of cavaliers had now arrived. They charged vigorously,
cutting down both women and men, and, amidst the shrieks of the women
and wailing of little children, Tuscaloosa’s people were annihilated.
At last all had been dispersed or butchered.

The Spanish histories of this bloody affair say that at last only a
solitary warrior was left. Seeing that all his friends and companions
had either perished or fled, he sprang upon the palisade, and, finding
that he was surrounded on all sides by vindictive steel-clad Spaniards
with menacing swords, he twisted off his bow-string, and, making a
slip-noose, hanged himself to the stout limb of a tree.

The battle of Mauvila had left De Soto in a sorry state, for eighty-two
of his followers had been killed, and so many of the men had been
wounded that the surgeon could not give them proper attention. In fact,
so broken up were the cavaliers, and particularly the horses, which
had suffered badly from the numerous arrows which had been fired into
them, that De Soto was forced to tarry in the vicinity of the ruined
Indian village for three weeks. The Spanish accounts of the battle say
that eleven thousand natives fell before the swords, lances, and clumsy
muskets of the Castilian invaders of this peaceful country.

De Soto was only a few days’ journey from Pensacola, where the ship,
which he had sent to Cuba for supplies, was to reach him. Yet, instead
of heading for the ocean, he decided to march towards the north,
evidently hoping to find some city where was gold and silver, similar
to that which he had seen in the table-lands of Peru.

The El Dorado seekers accordingly marched northwest, and passed through
a flat country where was much game. The Indians were treacherous
and constantly annoyed them by attempting to steal their horses,
and by attacking any parties which traveled at a distance from the
main column. It was now December. As the weather grew chill, De Soto
determined to spend the winter in some convenient spot, and, as he now
came upon a well-built Indian town, which had recently been deserted,
he reached the conclusion that this was the very place for which he had
been in search. Accordingly, his cavaliers made themselves comfortable
in the thatched huts of the Chickasaws, for such was the name of the
redskins who had settled here.

Trouble was still in store for the adventurous gold-seekers.

After their many battles and long journeys, the men enjoyed themselves
in hunting and in taking life easy. There was an abundance of corn
stored here, so their horses grew sleek and fat, while their masters
chased rabbits and other small game. All was peaceful. Apparently not
an Indian was in the vicinity, so the guards relaxed their vigilance,
grew somewhat careless, and unsuspectingly offered a tempting opening
to any redskins who might wish to attack them.

One night the Chickasaws made good use of their opportunity to get even
with the invaders of what they considered to be their sacred soil. It
was towards the end of January and a fierce north wind was blowing.
While the men were sleeping in their huts, suddenly a wild war-whoop
welled upon the night air, and, as the wind howled dismally, the roofs
over their heads burst into a crackling blaze. Fanned by the high
breeze, the flames leaped into the air, and, in a moment the whole camp
was red with fire. The Spaniards sprang to arms and rushed forth to the
fray, some in their shirts, and many without their armor on.

What had happened?

Under cover of the darkness, and unheard, because of the blustering
wind, the vindictive Chickasaws had approached their abandoned town and
had furiously attacked it. They had poured in a volley of arrows with
burning wisps attached to them, which quickly ignited the thatched
roofs and sent a reddening glare over the scene of confusion. De Soto
leaped upon his horse, but did so hurriedly and without tightening the
girth. It turned with him and he pitched to the ground, falling upon
his chest. Immediately the howling savages surrounded him and attempted
to put an end to his life, but his men rushed to his assistance, beat
off the shrieking Chickasaws, and dragged him by the feet to a position
of safety. Leaping again to the saddle, with a mighty cheer, he led his
men into the fray with such impetuosity, that the Indians disappeared
into the blackness. Forty of the Spaniards had been killed, fifty of
their precious horses had been prostrated by barbed arrows and flaming
brands, while the larger part of their clothing, arms, their saddles
and their provisions, had been consumed. They were also houseless, and
the wind was bitterly chill. Fortunately, the Chickasaws did not again

But the hostile savages did not leave them alone. When Spring came
and the horsemen resumed their march, they were repeatedly harassed
by the red men, who crept near them on every side, and cut down any
unsuspecting Spaniard who wandered from the column.

Pursuing a northwesterly course, the cavaliers at length came upon a
great force of the natives, who, stripped to their waists and painted
with various colors, yelled their defiance and brandished their spears
and arrows at the invaders. Nearby was their stronghold, a palisade
surrounding their huts, which had three entrances. The Spaniards
advanced in three columns to attack these openings.

What could these half-clad redskins do against men in steel armor,
and with sword, buckler, and arquebusier? The Castilians drove them
into their fortification like sheep, and there massacred them as they
had the fierce warriors under Tuscaloosa. According to old accounts,
two thousand of the Indians were slain, although the native warriors
inflicted quite a loss upon their attackers. The invaders secured
provisions, corn, and female slaves, which they transported with them
in their journey towards the northwest.

The Spaniards took their battles lightly, for they considered it all
a part of the day’s work. They resumed their march, but now they must
have been pretty sure that no El Dorado could exist in this flat and
somewhat marshy country. Still, they were cheerful, and when, a few
weeks later, they came upon a great muddy river which was so wide that
they could not see a man upon the other bank, they felt that certainly
their trip, their many discomforts, and their losses, had not been in
vain. When they viewed the turbid current of the Mississippi they were
filled with silent awe, and a priest, holding the cross of Christ high
in the air, blessed the surging flood, while De Soto cried out: “I take
you in behalf of the King of Spain, and shall call you mine own from

This gallant cavalier was a man of resource. He set his soldiers
immediately to work constructing boats, and, gradually moving up the
river in order to find a place where it would be possible to cross—for
the little army was upon high bluffs (now called the Chickasaw
Bluffs)—he transported all in safety to the other side and into the
land of Arkansas, the seventh State of the present Union, upon whose
soil these restless explorers had set their feet.

They wandered towards the setting sun. Here were vast plains filled
with herds of buffalo and roving bands of hostile redskins, from whom
they learned that other white men had preceded them, although rumors of
the adventurous Coronado’s march had traveled eastward by word of mouth
among the native inhabitants of the plains. This Spaniard had traveled
thither from Mexico, and, could the two parties have met each other,
there would have been great rejoicing. But there was to be no such good
fortune, and De Soto’s men found only simple, but treacherous natives.

The Spaniards lost some of their horses. The escape of these was
fortunate for future generations of pioneers, as many an emigrant in
later years was able to cross the plains by capturing and taming one of
the descendants of these fugitives from the bit and the saddle.

The adventurers wandered about for many months, wintered in a
well-provisioned village near the Red River, within the present State
of Louisiana, then, to the great joy of the now well-seasoned veterans,
De Soto told them that he was about to return to the great, turbid
Mississippi. He informed the wanderers that he intended to build boats,
send them down the stream and across the Gulf of Mexico, to Cuba,
and to transport thither many other men and a plentiful supply of
provisions, so as to establish a colony in his Kingdom of Florida.

The conception was a grand one. Yet the imaginative and jealous
Castilian had not reckoned with one powerful enemy, that cruel and
unrelenting persecutor called Death.

The active brain of this gallant explorer was busy with perfecting
his plans for the founding of a settlement in the wilderness. He
carefully selected the officers and crews who were to take charge of
the vessels which he proposed to build. He chose those who were to
remain with him upon the banks of the rolling Mississippi. Some were
set to work cutting timbers; others collected gum from pine trees;
while still others put up forges and made nails from bits of iron which
they had carried with them. All were busy and active in preparation
both for the stay of those who were to colonize this country, and the
departure of those who were to leave. Yet the fever was in the veins
of our venturesome Castilian and his customary vigor was slackened. De
Soto grew so weakened that he had to be carried to his tent and was

While upon the Red River, one of the malaria-breeding mosquitoes had
driven his tiny sting into the flesh of the brave adventurer. He had
sickened from the poison, yet refused to give up to the disease, until
the fever was raging in his veins. He now sank rapidly. Yellow fever
had doubtless assailed him, and his system, already weakened by much
exposure and by shock of battle, could not throw off the inroads of
the dread disease. He sank day by day. When he knew that the end was
approaching, he called his officers together, asked their forgiveness
for any wrong which he might have done them, and named Moscoso de
Alvarado to succeed him to the command of the expedition. Officers and
bluff soldiers all swore allegiance to their new leader. The dying
explorer begged his followers to carry out his ideas in the settlement
of the vast country of Florida, and this they promised him that they
would do.

One warm, sultry morning, when the mocking bird was trilling a
beautiful melody from an overhanging sycamore, which jutted over the
bank of the slow-moving, yet turbulent Mississippi, the spirit of the
bold adventurer departed. His hardened and sunburned companions were
dewy-eyed when they gazed upon the still countenance of their friend
and kindly adviser. They wrapped him in a sheet, rowed him to the
center of the swirling stream, dropped him overboard, and left him
amidst the silence of the great, wild country where the “golden man”
had never been found.

So perished De Soto, a cavalier of Spain in a day when Spain had great
warriors and noble-minded, yet adventuresome men. As a horseman he had
few superiors; as a soldier he could bear as many privations as any
man. Towards his own cavaliers he was merciful and just; towards the
hostile natives of silent Florida he was merciless and cruel. He was a
man of learning, of imagination, of iron will, as is exhibited by the
fact that he held his gold-worshiping supporters to their journey long
after many had sickened of the affair and had wished to go home. At one
time worth a million dollars, the companion of Kings and of Princes, he
died in the wilderness of the New World. His followers drifted back to
Mexico, broken in both health and in spirit, so his ambitious dream for
a colony in the land of the fanciful El Dorado was never consummated.




  _Where the hemlock bends her tufted head;_
    _Where the beaver breeds in the pool;_
  _Where the moose-bird chatters his mimic song;_
    _And the willowy grilses school;_
  _’Neath the feathery arch of the drowsy larch,_
    _The birch bark floated and swayed,_
  _As the rhythmic paddles dipped and swung,_
    _And splashed with the slap of the spade._
  _On the rocking waves of the foaming lake,_
    _The Frenchman turned and gazed,_
  _For he saw a land which was new, which was grand,_
    _And his spirit shrank amazed._
  _So he planted the flag of King-cursed France,_
    _As he waved his sword above,_
  _And the waters were called the Lak de Champlain,_
    _—’Twas the lake which the redskins love._




UPON the north side of the river St. Lawrence, in Canada, and five
hours’ journey by steamer from the quaint old city of Quebec, nestles
the little village of Murray Bay. It is a picturesque, peaceful
collection of houses, where many of those who have wealth and leisure
journey in summer to enjoy the champagne-like air and the rugged
scenery. Now a great, modern hotel rises majestically from the
hemlock-covered river-bank; but if some of the fashionable guests
who frequent it had stood there one brilliant day, many years ago,
they would have seen two pigmy vessels holding their course up the
lovely St. Lawrence. On board was a pair of venturesome Frenchmen: the
Seigneur de Chastes and Samuel de Champlain, the latter a youthful and
energetic explorer, who looked forward to adventures in the land of the
treacherous redman, the broad-antlered moose, and the moon-eyed caribou.

This brave son of France had been born in the year 1567 in the little
town of Brouage, some twenty miles south of the seaport of La Rochelle.
Little is known of his family or of his early life. His father,
doubtless the son of a fisherman, was a Captain in the navy, and one of
his uncles was a sea-pilot of some renown.

In youth Champlain became an excellent seaman, but, as his country
was soon embroiled in civil and religious wars, his energies were
engaged in martial exploits upon the land, and not upon the foaming
Atlantic. Joining Henry of Navarre, he fought for the King with
zeal and enthusiasm, although he, himself, was a Catholic, and his
sovereign championed the Huguenot or Protestant cause. Champlain, in
fact, loved country more than religion, and struggled to save her from
dismemberment. His purse was small, his want great, and thus Henry the
Fourth, from his own slender revenues, gave him a position as Captain.

The war was finally over, and the youthful Champlain conceived a design
which was quite in harmony with his adventurous nature. He would,
indeed, visit the West Indies and bring back a report of those wondrous
regions where was much peril, and where every intruding Frenchman was
threatened with death. Here was adventure enough for any young fellow
who had the stomach for a fight.

No sooner conceived than executed! The hot-blooded Frenchman was
quickly on board a vessel bound for Vera Cruz. He stopped at the West
Indies, made plans and sketches of them all, then landed upon the
Mexican Coast. He penetrated inland and was struck with amazement at
what he saw in the beautiful City of Mexico, where Cortés had battled,
bled and conquered. He visited Panama, and,—what think you!—even
at this early date conceived the plan of shipping freight across the
Isthmus, where to-day the United States has dug a great canal to
expedite the commerce of the world.

“I believe that a ship-canal, if constructed, would shorten the voyage
to the South Sea by more than fifteen hundred miles,” he has written.

Oh, valorous Frenchman, had you but lived to see your wayward dream
come to be a living reality!

The adventurer now returned to the French Court, that Versailles of
which has been truthfully said: “It cost one billion of francs and it
took one billion drops of the peasants’ blood to build it!” Where,
also, is the portrait of the famous soldier whose epitaph reads: “He
was invincible in peace, invisible in war.” Here was the center of
frivolity and fashion, exactly what would weary the blood of such a
backwoods soul as Champlain. He soon tired of it and longed to plunge
again into the wilderness of the unknown West, for there, forsooth,
would be danger and hardship enough for any man.

Good fortune was to be with him. At court was a gray-haired veteran of
the civil wars, who wished to mark his closing days with some notable
achievement for France and for the church. This was Aymar de Chastes,
commander of the order of St. John, and Governor of Dieppe. He longed
to sail for Canada, or New France—would Champlain go with him? Well, I
should think so! They embraced, shook hands upon it,—they would seek
adventure and hardship together.

So this is how they happened to be sailing past the hemlock-clad hills
of Murray Bay, upon that bright, clear morning, and I’ll warrant that,
if you ever play golf upon the course far above the town, as many of
you doubtless have often done, and you will look out upon the great,
turbid and raging river, where perhaps you can see the bobbing back of
a white porpoise, you will think different thoughts than those which
are connected with a sliced drive or a miserable putt.

Like veritable gnats upon the surface of the tide-swept stream, the
vessels kept upon their way, passing the trading-post of Tadoussac
(once a flourishing settlement, but now abandoned), the channel of
Orleans, and the spuming falls of Montmorenci. They drifted by the
brown rocks of Quebec, on, on, up the blue and charging river, until
they came opposite that rounded mountain which lifts its head high
above the present city of Montreal. All was solitude. Sixty-eight
years before this Jacques Cartier, the navigator, had found a numerous
savage population, but now all had vanished, and only a few wandering
Algonquin redskins peered at them from the edge of the forest.

Here are the fiercest of rapids, which, if you pass through to-day,
you will find to be dangerous and an exciting adventure. The vigorous
Champlain endeavored to paddle up them with a few of the childlike
Algonquins. His courage was greater than his ability to stem the
whirling foam and tempestuous waves. Oars, paddles, poles, and pikes
could not force the thin birch-bark canoes up the swift-moving St.
Lawrence, and he was forced to return, acknowledging himself beaten.
When he mounted the deck of his vessel, the redmen made rude sketches
upon the planking of what he would find above, and spoke of a mighty
water-fall (Niagara Falls) where the river plunged downward in a mass
of tempestuous spray. Champlain listened with pleasure to these stories
of what lay beyond, but he had to return, as De Chastes so willed it.
After an uneventful voyage the adventurers reached the shores of France.

The gray-haired De Chastes, worn out by the rigors of the voyage, now
passed to the great beyond, leaving his title to the great land of New
France to Sieur de Monts, who immediately petitioned the King to allow
him to colonize Acadie, a region defined as extending from Philadelphia
to Montreal. Truly these early adventurers had magnificent ideas of
distance, quite in keeping with their ambitious designs of conquest!
The King readily gave him what he desired, so, with one vessel, he
sailed from Havre de Grace upon the seventh day of April, 1604.

But how about the adventure-loving Champlain? He remained at home not
only for that year, but for five full years, while De Monts and his men
were having plenty of hard knocks and experience in the bleak land of
New France.

The good seaman, in fact, quietly resided in Paris, but his unquiet
thoughts were ever turning westward. He was enamored with the strange,
hemlock-wooded country whose rugged hills and blue rivers were mirrored
upon his memory and continually urged him to “come back and explore!”
Even as Commander Peary has said that he pined for Arctic ice and
snow, so, with restless longing, the noble-hearted Frenchman ever
sighed for days upon the broad surface of the St. Lawrence, with
starlit nights filled with the balsamy odors of the forests. Upon the
banks near the mountain of Montreal he had determined to lay out a
settlement, from which, as a base, the waters might be traced back far
into the vast interior of the continent. With eager and tempestuous
thoughts, he yearned to be once more scudding by the two peaks, which
held high their heads as the Saguenay discharged its swift-moving
current into the rushing St. Lawrence, far, far beneath them.

The danger-loving De Monts returned after four years of adventure. To
him Champlain expressed his views, which met with a ready response.
Yes, indeed, they would go forth together, would trade with the
Indians, bring back a cargo of furs, and would found a town by those
whirling rapids, ’neath the mountain of Montreal.

On April the 16th. 1604, they sailed in a ship of 150 tons from
Havre de Grace, with a mixed company of priests, Huguenot ministers,
impressed rogues, and honest settlers. Another vessel, under one
Pontgrave, had preceded them by eight days, for she was laden with
goods for the Indian trade at Tadoussac.

By the third of June the adventurous Champlain neared the mouth of the
Saguenay. The robust Frenchmen eagerly breathed in the clear air of
the St. Lawrence, tinged with the faint smell of the spruce and the
balsamy hemlock. The little vessel, swept by the tide and eddies, held
its course up the stream until the Island of Orleans was reached. Then
it was run towards the northern bank and was anchored beneath the
high cliffs of Quebec. The men went ashore, axes rang against the tree
trunks, and soon a number of wooden buildings arose on the brink of the
St. Lawrence, not far from the present market-place of the Lower Town.
A settlement had been founded in the wilderness, which was to exist for

It was now the eighteenth day of September. Pontgrave set sail for
France, leaving Champlain with twenty-eight men to hold Quebec
throughout the winter. October was soon upon them, October with its
crystal air, shriveling leaves and laughing sun; but it soon passed
away, and the chill of frosty winter settled upon the little colony. It
was to be a cold and cheerless stay, and, as is always the case when
men are in need of fresh vegetables, the scurvy broke out among the
adventurers, killing many and seriously crippling the remainder. By
the middle of May, only eight men out of the twenty-eight were alive,
and of these half were suffering from the dreadful disease. Champlain,
however, seems to have been an iron fellow, and successfully withstood
the lack of that which it is necessary to eat in order to ward away the
awful pestilence.

But every lane has its turning, and Spring at last put in an
appearance. Ice and snow melted under the genial rays of the sun,
the honk! honk! of the wild geese was heard as they winged their way
towards the north, and the bluebirds warbled from the budding maple
trees. Great was the joy of the survivors of this awful winter when
they saw a sail-boat rounding the Point of Orleans, and cheers greeted
the French explorer Marias as he cast anchor in the ice-freed river.
He brought good news. Pontgrave had been to France and back again. He
was then at Tadoussac, waiting to speak with Champlain, and to talk of
further explorations into the wilderness.

The hardy explorer hastened to confer with his friend and companion,
for, in spite of the pestilence, his giant constitution had defied
the scurvy. Sailing down the St. Lawrence, they soon met, and it was
determined between them, that, while Pontgrave remained in charge
of Quebec, Champlain should at once enter upon his long-meditated
explorations, by which, he foolishly had hope of finding a way to China.

Now was to be a series of great adventures. Late that Autumn a young
chieftain from the banks of the Ottawa River had come to visit the
half-starved colonists at Quebec, and had begged Champlain to join
him, in the Spring, in an expedition against his enemies. These were
the Iroquois, or dwellers in fortified villages within the limit of
the present State of New York, who were a terror to all those tribes
who lived north of them. They were not only warriors of fierceness and
bold endeavor, but were also tillers of the soil, living at ease and
affluence when compared with the Indians who fished, camped, and hunted
game, near the waters of the blue St. Lawrence.

About the middle of the month of May, Champlain set forth to paddle
up the river, accompanied by a band of the Montagnais redskins. As he
proceeded, he saw the lodges of an Indian encampment thickly clustered
in the bordering forest, and, landing, found there his Huron and
Algonquin allies. The red men were amazed to see a person with a white
skin, and gathered about the steel-clad strangers (for he had several
other Frenchmen with him) in astonished awe and admiration.

“I would speak with your chieftain,” said Champlain.

The staring natives led him towards a great lodge where sat not one
chief, but two, for each tribe had its own leader with them. Now there
was much speech-making, feasting, and smoking of the peace pipes; then,
all paddled down the river to Quebec, for the redskins were anxious
to view that town, the fame of which had been borne to them in their
distant habitations of the forest.

The native Canadians were much interested in the wooden houses built by
the white men. They yelped in consternation at the explosions of the
French guns, and the roar of the iron cannon. After they had examined
everything to their satisfaction, their camps were pitched, they
bedecked themselves for the war dance, and, when night fell, leaped
about, howling and singing in the yellow glare of a huge bon-fire. Next
morning they were ready for their expedition into the wilderness, where
their enemies, the fierce Iroquois, had dragged unfortunate members of
their tribe, who had fallen into their hands, to be beaten and tortured
with horrible indignities. No wonder they longed to have these white
men as their allies, so that they could revenge themselves upon their

It was now the twenty-eighth day of May. The air was balmy, yet
cool, so the expedition started under pleasant auspices. Entering
a small sloop, the Sieur De Champlain pointed her nose up stream,
and, accompanied by eleven companions, and surrounded by hundreds of
redskins in birch bark canoes, set sail for the mouth of the Rivière
de Iroquois, which connects the swirling waters of the St. Lawrence
with that beautiful lake which was to subsequently bear the name of
this venturesome explorer. The members of the famous war-party crossed
the Lake of St. Peter, threaded the crooked channels among its many
islands, and at length started down the winding stream towards the
dreamy, gray expanse of the tempestuous lake,—afterwards to be known
as Lake Champlain,—and the country of the Iroquois.

As the canoes advanced, many of the warriors went ashore, and,
spreading out, hunted for game in the leafy forests. A provision of
parched corn had been brought along; but this was only to be used,
when, owing to the nearness of the enemy, no game could be secured.
The river widened as they went on, and they passed great islands, many
miles in extent, and finally debouched into the rocking waters of the
glittering lake, which was ever afterwards to bear the name of this
adventurous Frenchman. He, himself, was amazed, startled, pleased
with this, his first view of the great body of water. To the left
the forest ridges of the Green Mountains raised themselves against
the blue horizon; while to the right, the Adirondacks stretched,
themselves above the swaying spruces and hemlocks, jutting above the
woodland fringe in height quite equal to their sister hills across the
wave-tossed water.

But now they were in the country of the ferocious Iroquois. They must
use caution in their advance, for they might be attacked at any moment.
They changed their mode of travel, lay all day hidden in the depth of
the forest, sleeping, lounging, smoking tobacco, while at twilight
they again entered the canoes and paddled down the side of the lake
until the flush of dawn began to redden the eastern skyline. At the
very end of the water was a rocky promontory where Fort Ticonderoga was
afterwards built, and this was their objective, their intention being
to carry across into a small lake lying to the south (Lake George)
and thence to paddle southward in search of hunting parties of the
Iroquois, or of the more southern, but equally ferocious Mohawks. They
even intended to carry their canoes to the upper reaches of the Hudson
River, should no enemies be met with, and thus penetrate into the
very heart of the Mohawk country. They were to be spared this lengthy

At ten o’clock in the evening of the twenty-ninth day of July the
flotilla approached the end of the wave-tossed lake, and, as the
shadows descended, an advance scout saw dark objects in motion upon
the water before them. They drew nearer, and, as paddles flashed to
the straining arms of the braves, suddenly a wild, unnerving war-whoop
sounded above the splashing of the water. An Iroquois war-party was
before them.

The hostile warriors yelled derisively, and, turning about, paddled
furiously for the shore, as they had no desire to engage in a
hand-to-hand struggle upon the surface of the lake. They landed, rushed
into the forest, and soon the hack! hack! of their stone hatchets and
iron axes, captured in warfare, showed that they were busily preparing
a fortification. The Canadian redskins remained upon the lake, with
canoes lashed together by means of poles, and, floating to within
bowshot of their enemies, yelled derisively at them.

Night descended. Those upon the lake danced in the bottoms of their
frail canoes, yelling derisively and singing songs of defiance. Those
on shore hacked away at their fortifications, yelping dismally and
boasting of their prowess in battle. Champlain slept uneasily, and,
as day dawned, put on his breast and back plates, his steel thigh
protectors, and upon his head his plumed casque. In his hand was
his gun or arquebus, loaded with four balls. An ammunition-box hung
over one shoulder and a long sword was by his side. Thus he stood,
respectfully gazed upon by his redskin allies, who took him for a sort
of god, come from the Great Spirit in order to rescue them from their
enemies and bring victory to their painted braves.

Daylight soon came. With yells of defiance the allies now approached
the shore, and, without opposition from the Iroquois, landed upon the
beach, where they drew up in battle array. The Iroquois defiled from
their barricade, and, as Champlain looked upon them, he saw that they
were all tall, strong men, about two hundred in all, the fiercest and
most able fighters of North America. In the center of the line were
several chiefs, who had great headdresses of eagle and heron plumes,
and, as they advanced through the forest, all set up a vigorous
yelping, similar to a pack of wolves in full cry. Some had shields of
wood and of deerhide, others were covered with a kind of armor made of
tough twigs interlaced together. Stealthily and steadily they bore down
upon the northern host, while afar off, on the roughened water of the
lake, a blue and white loon screamed discordantly.


The stout-hearted Sieur de Champlain stood in the rear of the Canadian
redmen; but, as the Iroquois drew near, his friendly braves called
loudly for him to come out in front in order to lead them on to the
fray. The good knight was eager to do so. Yet, as he stood forth, with
the sun gleaming upon his armor, the Iroquois remained stock still and
gazed at him in mute astonishment. The Frenchman leveled his arquebus
at a gaudy chieftain, and fired. At the discharge, the red man leaped
high into the air, uttered a gurgling yell, and fell prostrate upon the
green moss. Bang! A second redskin lurched upon his face. Then arose
a wild, alarming scream from his allies, and the air was filled with
whizzing arrows.

The Iroquois were no cowards and returned the barbs with some equally
as good, but, as the guns of the other Frenchmen spoke, and numerous
redskins fell to the earth in mortal agony, they saw that here was a
death-dealing instrument which they had never met with before. This
brought confusion to their ranks. They stood for a few moments, then
broke and ran in uncontrolled terror, while, with wonderful leaps and
bounds, the allies started in pursuit. Many of the Iroquois went to
the Happy Hunting Grounds; but many others were captured; while camp,
canoes, provisions and weapons were all abandoned. Terrorized and
dismayed by Champlain and his arquebus, these denizens of the forest
had been signally defeated. Thus the scientific knowledge of the white
man triumphed over the ignorance of the Indian, and thus New France,
for the first time, rushed into contact with the renowned warriors of
the Five Nations.

The allies held a three hour dance in commemoration of their victory,
and when it was completed, they started homeward, first torturing the
prisoners, and killing the majority of them. At the Falls of Chambly
on the river Richelieu, the Hurons and Algonquins went their ways, and
Champlain paddled down the St. Lawrence with the friendly Montagnais at
the rate of seventy-five, to ninety miles, a day. At length he reached
Tadoussac, where the wives and daughters of the redskins greeted them
with a feast and war dance. All rejoiced at the signal victory over
the hated Iroquois and sang and yelped in commemoration of the famous
battle near the rocky promontory of far distant Crown Point.

The adventurous Champlain had much enjoyed this little trip, yet, eager
to report his explorations to the French King, he sailed for France,
and, after a month’s voyage, found himself at Fontainebleau. The King
was much pleased with the news which was brought of happenings across
the wide Atlantic. He also was delighted with a belt of porcupine
quills, as a present from the Canadian wilds, with two skins of the
scarlet tanager, and the pointed skull of a gar fish, unknown in
France and much appreciated.

By Spring the daring voyager was again upon the ocean, headed for
Tadoussac and the hills of the Laurentian Mountains. The colony at
Quebec had spent a good winter, and had not been visited with the
scurvy, so he felt that France at last had her grip upon the New World.

As he went up the river he was met by his old friends, the Montagnais
Indians, who were again upon the warpath. Would he join them? Why,
nothing suited his fancy better! He was soon to be in a battle more
ferocious than that skirmish away off upon the bank of the great Lake

The redskins were encamped upon an island in the river, where they were
to meet the Algonquins and proceed against a band of Iroquois, who had
come there from the south in order to have revenge for the slaughter
of the previous year. All were busy felling branches and trees for a
barricade, when suddenly an Algonquin paddled up, crying,

“Arm yourselves! Get ready! The Iroquois are not far away and have
thrown up a fortification. If you do not attack them, they will attack

With a wild yelp of eager anticipation, the Montagnais took to their
canoes, paddled up the stream, leaped to the shore, and were soon
running through the woods in the direction of the camp of the hated
invaders. As for Champlain, and some Frenchmen whom he had with him,
they could come along as best they might. This they did, and, as they
advanced through the forest, they heard loud shouts and battle cries.
The fight was on in earnest.

The Sieur de Champlain, in armored breast plate and with greaves and
arquebus, soon came into a clearing, where he viewed a strong, log
fortification. Behind this, the Iroquois were raising an ear-splitting
din. They were firing at the attacking party of Montagnais and
Algonquins, who were afraid to advance. The Frenchman soon saw how to
bring the matter to a successful issue.

“Here, my friends!” said he to the redskins. “You must make a breach in
yonder fort. As I and my companions shower bullets at a certain point,
you must rush forward, must tear down the logs with this rope, then all
can enter and put an end to these invaders.”

The Indians followed his advice. As the Frenchmen advanced and
commenced firing, the redskins rushed forward, tied ropes to the logs,
and, wrenching them away, soon made a breach in the fortress. Champlain
was hit in the ear by an arrow, but he tore it away, although it had
buried itself in his neck, and continued the fight. As the redmen
worked willingly, a fresh band of Frenchmen approached and began to
fire upon the fort from the other side. They had come from a trading
pinnace, which had followed Champlain’s shallop, and, hearing the sound
of gun-fire, had hurried forward in order to take part in the fray.

Crash! The logs at last gave way. With a wild, discordant war-whoop,
the allies rushed forward, brandishing their knives and tomahawks, and
followed by Champlain with his men. The Iroquois, frightened at the
awful effect of the firearms, made but a slight resistance. Some were
shot upon the spot, others ran and were killed at once, still others
plunged into the St. Lawrence, where they were drowned, while fifteen
were taken prisoners. Not one escaped the fury of the allied assault.
It had been a second glorious victory.

Champlain had no further battles with the redmen, at this time; but,
a few years later, made a journey up the Ottawa River which brought
him in contact with many of them. This was then, of course, an unknown
country, inhabited only by bands of Indians, who lived by fishing and
by hunting. The Frenchman was the first white man to venture among the
native Canadians, so you can well imagine what must have been their
surprise and interest in viewing a warrior with a “stick which spoke
with the voice of thunder.” They marveled at his ability to travel up
the river, which was rapid and treacherous, saying, “You must have
fallen from the clouds as you are so far from the great river (St.
Lawrence).” They gave him food, showed him their gardens, planted with
Indian corn, and sent him on to other Indian villages, with an escort.

“We live here because we fear the Iroquois,” said one chief. “But, if
our white brothers will but settle upon the great, blue river to the
south of us, so that we may be protected from these fierce warriors, we
ourselves will come down there to live.”

After spending some time in exploring this wild and beautiful country,
the adventurer erected a great cross, decorated with the arms of the
King of France.

“You must preserve this,” he said to the savages, “for it belongs to my
Great Father beyond the sea.”

Then, turning about, he began the journey to Montreal. It was June,
the woods were radiant with the flush of new foliage, deer, moose,
and beaver were seen in abundance, and even the lean, sneaking timber
wolves howled at the interlopers. The trip down the Ottawa was swifter
than the ascent and, about the middle of June, the voyager arrived
beneath the mountain of Montreal. He bought all the furs that he could
from the Indians, and, after feasting with the French traders and dusky
sons of the forest, embarked in one of the trading ships for France,
promising to return on the following year.

He did as he had said, and, addressing the redmen, told them that
it was his aim to get them to live at peace with one another and to
form a league which would have as its object the extermination of the
Iroquois. Champlain had great ideas for New France. He wished to have
the Indians as his allies and friends. French soldiers were to fight
their battles for them. French traders were to supply their wants.
French priests would baptize them and lead them in the ways of the
true Christian faith. It was to be an alliance of soldier, priest, and

The Indians were well treated by the French explorers, who were kinder
than the English and far more hospitable. Champlain was anxious to
gather twenty-five hundred of them so as to attack the Iroquois.
The redskins promised to collect at Montreal at a stated time, and,
believing them, the great-hearted Frenchman traveled to Quebec for
needed supplies. When he returned, he found, to his dismay and chagrin,
a perfect solitude. The wild concourse of Algonquins, Ottawas, and
Hurons had vanished, and nothing remained but the smoke of their fires,
the skeleton poles of their tepees and the débris from their feasting.
Impatient at the delay in waiting for him, they had set out for their

Nothing daunted, but greatly chagrined, Champlain determined to journey
up the Ottawa to the land of the Hurons, of whom he had heard much, but
had never seen. With two canoes, ten Indians, and two Frenchmen, he
therefore pushed up the stream, reached Lake Nipissing, and, hearing
that a still larger lake was beyond, pressed onward to the country of
the Hurons. The scenery delighted him, for here were deep woods of
pine and of cedar, thickets full of brown rabbits and partridges, wild
grapes, plums, cherries, crab apples, nuts, and blackberries.

The Hurons were soon met with; noble-looking, well-fed savages, who
took him to their tents, feasted him on com, pumpkins and fish, and
welcomed him as the great hero who was to lead them successfully in
battle against their hated enemies, the Iroquois.

At length many warriors had gathered, and, with many cries of defiance,
they put boldly forth upon the broad bosom of Lake Ontario, crossed it
safely, and landed near a bay called Hungry Bay, within the borders of
the State of New York. The canoes were hidden in the woods, and the
warriors walked single file for ten or twelve miles down the edge of
the lake. Then they struck towards the south, and, threading a tortuous
way through the forest, were soon deep within the country of the
Iroquois: their deadly and hated enemies.

It was the month of October, the month of the harvest and the month
of crisp, joyous days. The rustling leaves were just turning to gold
and to crimson as the warriors crept onward upon their mission of
death. On, on, they went, until they had approached a fortified town
of the enemy, surrounded by plowed fields, in which were pumpkins and
stalks of corn. In advance were some young Huron braves, whose zeal
out-weighed their common sense. Seeing some Iroquois at work among
their crops, they made a rush upon them, uttering a wild yell as they
did so.

The hot-headed Huron warriors had counted without their host, for, as
they raced forward, the Iroquois seized their bows and arrows, shot
into their midst, and killed and wounded a half dozen of the oncomers.
The rest were driven back, hotly pursued. But Champlain and his
Frenchmen stopped their onrush at the border of the wood, sending them
yelping to their stockade, bearing their dead and wounded with them.

The battle was a three hour affair. Truly the Iroquois were noble
fighters, for, in spite of an equality of numbers, they easily were
the victors of the day, wounding Champlain in the knee with an arrow,
while another pierced the calf of his leg. The Hurons, in fact, had a
sufficiency of battle, and, withdrawing to their camp, waited five
days for a detachment of Algonquins which had promised to appear.
They did not come, and, in frequent skirmishes with the Iroquois, the
invaders were given all the fighting that they wished for. At length,
disheartened, the Hurons retreated to the place where their canoes lay
hidden, pursued by parties of the Iroquois, who shot great quantities
of arrows at their retreating forms. They embarked, paddled across the
lake, and were again in their own country.

The Sieur De Champlain was not quite the hero which he had been before
this affair, for he had not been found to be invulnerable. The man of
iron breastplate, fluttering plumes, and “stick which spoke with the
voice of thunder” was, after all, a common mortal. Some of the redmen
even treated him disdainfully, for they were angered at the reception
which they had received.

In spite of this, the French empire-builder spent the Winter with
his redskinned allies. When Spring came, he turned homeward, and,
accompanied by an Indian chieftain, again paddled down the Ottawa, at
length reaching Montreal, where he was welcomed as one risen from the
dead. Launching his canoe, he journeyed to Quebec, where he received
a royal welcome. The chief was amazed at the houses, ships, and
barracks, and, after admiring all that he saw, returned to his wigwam
in the forest, bewildered and astonished at the possessions of these
fair-skinned strangers.

The rest of Champlain’s life was troublous, indeed, and quite different
from those venturesome experiences in the wilderness. He had dedicated
himself to New France, he loved the great surging St. Lawrence River,
the wooded hills, the glorious lakes, the hemlock forests, the spruce,
the fir, and the wonderfully clear air. He craved the wild life among
the redskins, the battles in the silent forest, the war-dance and the
shrill yelpings of victory. He reveled in the woodland scents and
sounds, the chatter of the moose-bird, the scream of the loon, the
plaintive _meow_ of the lynx, the grunt of the brown, bull moose, and
the quavering wail of the great northern diver. His eye responded to
the view of bogs, morasses, waterfalls and plunging rapids. He was—in
fact—a lover of the beautiful in nature. In a period of unbridled
license his was a spotless life, and, like the good Chevalier Bayard,
he was a warrior without fear and without reproach.

A British fleet, sailing up the St. Lawrence, found the little town
of Quebec, which the good Chevalier had built, with a garrison of but
sixteen, and these half famished. They were ordered to surrender, were
captured, were convoyed to their own country (each soldier with furs
to the value of twenty crowns with him) and the cross of St. George
of England was planted upon the crumbling walls of the citadel. Yet
Champlain was again to return, for, by a treaty between France and
England, at this time, New France was restored to the French crown. The
founder of this struggling colony reassumed command of Quebec in the
following May.

Two years now passed, years of pleasurable toil, among the Indians, for
priests and soldiers of the crown. A mission was established amongst
the Hurons, a trading post at Three Rivers, and the authorities in
France begged for troops with which to attack the vindictive Iroquois.
But Cardinal Richelieu, who governed the destinies of the nation,
had enough to do at home and cared little for the affairs of this
far-distant wilderness colony. Harassed by anxieties, Champlain became
more pious, grave and stern, as the years passed on. He had married,
but his wife remained in Europe, where she became a nun; so the bold
explorer made his will, leaving all of his little property to the

Christmas day, 1635, was a bright day overhead, and the sun shone
brilliantly upon the snow, but it was a dark day in the annals of
New France. For in a chamber of the old fort at Quebec, breathless
and cold, lay the hardy frame of the great explorer, the man of the
sea, the wilderness, the palace, and the wigwam. The grave, the
valiant Champlain was dead at the age of sixty-eight. His labors for
his beloved New France were over and he had ceased to watch over
the destinies of his struggling people. He was buried with a simple
ceremony, which was attended by Jesuits, officers, soldiers, traders,
Indian braves, and the few settlers of the quaint, little town. A tomb
was erected to his honor and his remains thus rested near the scenes
of his explorations, his adventures, and his dreams of empire for his
beloved country.


  _This is the song which the loon sang,_
    _Sang as he swam on the glimmering lake,_
  _Sang to the splash and thud of the waves,_
    _As the hills reëchoed his wild, laughing call,_
  _This is the song of Champlain!_

         *       *       *       *       *

  The day was bright, and the sun was warm, as I rocked on the waters I
  And the scent of the hemlocks blew fresh from the shore, and the coo
      of the gray, mourning dove.
  Afar down the lake came the voice of my mate, as he heard my laughing
  And we laughed at each other, like sister and brother, then dove, and
      laughed once again.
  But see, down the lake comes a strange, thrilling sight, ’tis a sight
      fit for gods to behold,
  A swarm of red warriors in birch bark canoes, their prows threading
      silver and gold.
  Algonquins and Hurons, Montagnais as well, bedaubed with yellow and
  While the plumes of the heron and eaglet wave forth, like flags from
      each clean-shaven head.
  In front of them all sits a warrior white, with breastplate and
      greaves of hard steel;
  As the paddles flash keenly, he gazes serenely, and smiles as the
      warriors wheel.
  They wheel into line with yells and with cries, as another wild party
      draws near,
  From the southward they come, while the weird, moaning drum booms
      forth a death-slogan clear.
  “The dread Iroquois! The bad Iroquois!” reëchoes from stem and from
  While loud, yelping cries ascend to the skies, as Algonquins and
      fierce Hurons turn.
  They turn and they wheel, form in battle array; but the Iroquois dart
      to the shore,
  Where they rush to the forest to cut down the trees, and hasten as
      never before.
  Night comes; as the smothering blackness creeps on, there are dances
      and songs on the lake,
  While on shore the deep drum makes a low, whining hum, e’en as
      branches and war-bonnets shake.
  Day breaks at last, and the shrill trumpet’s blast—wakes the
      stillness in forest and glade,
  ’Tis the dawning of death, for the grim specter’s breath has blown
      o’er the host unafraid.
  The paddles dip deep, as the warriors sleek drive onward to white,
      gleaming sand,
  They leap to the beach, with arrows in reach, advance to the uprising
  A yell of defiance is hurled at their heads, as the Iroquois rush to
      the fray,
  Then the keen, whizzing barbs rush swift through the air; they advance
      in battle array.
  But, see, there steps forth a warrior white,—’tis Champlain in
      casquet of steel,
  A sword by his side, in his hand a long gun, he sights as the Iroquois
  _Crash! bang!_ and the bullet is speeding along, it reaches the breast
      of a chief,
  One despairing wail and the lean body, frail, has gone to the Kingdom
      of Grief.
  Ahah! what is this, for the Iroquois turn, they have met with their
      masters at-last,
  The warriors fierce, who can slaughter and burn, now wince at the
      steel bullet’s blast.
  The Montagnais are yelping and dancing with glee, their enemies fear
      them at length,
  For many years past they have kept them in awe; now they wince at the
      arquebus’ strength.
  A wild mêlée now, and the green balsam bough, sways o’er the carnage
      of hate,
  And night shadows cover the rioting braves, the Iroquois meet with
      their fate.

         *       *       *       *       *

  See! the Hurons, Algonquins, are paddling away, and northward they
      turn with a will,
  As war songs and yelpings ascend to the sky, of torture the braves
      have their fill,
  Calm and quiet there sits that warrior white, who has won them the
      stirring lake fight,
  And the breeze sighs, “_Champlain!_” while the stirring refrain
      clarions forth like the wild eagle’s flight.

  _This is the song which the loon sang,_
  _Sang as he swam on the glimmering lake,_
  _Sang to the splash and thud of the waves,_
  _As the hills reëchoed his wild, laughing call;_
  _This is the song of Champlain!_



  I was the first to see the redskin, I was the first to view Champlain;
  Flitting in the hemlock branches, I fly South, then North again;
  Up among the gray brown mountains, down amidst the soggy waste,
  I am ever on the lookout, never worry, never haste.

  Yes, I’m called old Whiskey Jack, gray and black, along my back,
  Beady eye and slender tail, I can spy out any trail.
  Old bull moose and caribou wink their eyes as I fly through,
  Yelling, crying, “Chank! chank! chank!”—
        Trappers call me “awful crank!”

  Away up where the brook trout gather, away off by the blue St. John;
  O’er broiling falls of foaming lather, where splashing jumps the
  Where otters mew and spruce grouse flutter, where brown bears dig the
      honey tree,
  That is where I spend the summer, where hunts the “sport” and
      half-breed Cree.

  All men call me Whiskey Jack; I don’t have to tote a pack;
  Beady eye and slender tail, I can spy out any trail,
  Old bull moose and caribou wink and blink as I fly through,
  Yelling, crying, “Chank! chank! chank!”—
        Trappers call me “awful crank!”

  I don’t have to hunt for foodstuffs—no! I fly right into camp,
  Seize a piece of bread and butter, grab a muffin—then decamp,
  Ha! the trappers try to hit me! Ho! they throw their spoons and
  But I dodge them by and chuckle, they can’t hit me for their lives.

  So, I’m called old Whiskey Jack, nice old Whiskey,—gray and black.
  I was here in Indian days, know their customs, know their ways,
  I was here when Marquette came, saw Quebec when it began,
  Saw the hemlock forests falling, lowered by the hand of man.

  Yes, I’ve seen some doings surely, seen the redskins on Champlain,
  Seen them fight on land and water, seen the bodies of the slain,
  Seen the waves of Lake George glisten, heard the yells on Richelieu,
  Heard the scalp dance, seen the torture, viewed the crackling

  Yes, I’m just old Whiskey Jack, plain old blue jay, gray and black,
  Canadians know me, for I bring news of game and coming Spring,
  What’s a woodland camp without me? what’s a fire without my call?
  True, I’m just a plain old ranger, but—Egad—I’m loved by all!




  “_Oh! See there, redskinned brother, where the winding river parts,_
  _Where the shadows glance and glisten, where the silvery salmon
  _See that hulk approaching,—floating without a sound,_
  _With white clouds riding up above and sides so dark and round._
  _Come! Let us paddle to it. Ha! See the pale-skinned men;_
  _They beckon, smiling on us. They must be friendly, then._”




WE had been plowing along over the great Atlantic on a clear and
starlit night. The _Mauretania_ was as steady as a pier in the East
River, so we were expecting no disaster, yet, when we tumbled from our
cots upon the day following, we were startled to see that the great,
steel hulk had ceased to move with her accustomed vigor. The resounding
_poom, poom_, of her giant propeller-shaft was no longer heard, and she
was only just drifting along through the gray-green waters. Every now
and again her massive fog-whistle would roar out its leonine warning:

“O-o-o-o-o-m! O-o-o-o-o-m!”

We stumbled to the deck, only to be chilled and dampened by a shroud of
mist, which had shut down upon our steel-clad home like a giant pall.
It curled, rolled and settled upon us as if it were a blanket saturated
with dank sea-water; it cut off the view, so that one peered at the
swishing ocean in vain; and it benumbed one, so that one’s voice was
stifled and choked, as if a huge overpowering hand were grasping at
one’s throat. And even from above came that soul-deadening roar of the
steam siren:

“O-o-o-o-o-m! O-o-o-o-o-m!”

In the blinding mist I bumped into a sailor.

“Avast there, my lad,” said he. “Can’t you get your sea legs?”

“No,” I replied. “Where are we?”

“Off the banks.”

“And the fog?”

“Usual thing. She’ll burn off in a couple of hours. We have to go easy
because of the Gloucester fishing fleet. Hear them!”

Indistinctly, in the murky pall, I seemed to hear the thin whining of
numberless, tin fish-horns.

“Pretty weak fog-whistles, aren’t they?”

I laughed.

But just then something happened.

The mist seemed to part as if rent by a strong and virile hand.
We could see the great, combing, green billows go careening and
bobbing by, as the cloud-bank shifted like a veil, and there, tossing
restlessly on the waves, was a long, brown boat! A number of men
were in her, all huddled together in a heap. They were dressed in
old-fashioned garments and their faces were drawn, haggard, pinched. In
the stern sat a bearded man holding fast to the tiller, at his feet lay
a slender youth.

The vista lasted but for a moment or two and then the fog-bank rolled
in again, hiding the picture from our startled, yet eager visions.

“Who are they?” asked I, breathlessly, as the sailor lurched against my

“Henry Hudson and his crew,” he answered, with a hoarse chuckle.

And as I stumbled below, I thought that perhaps the weather-beaten
sea-dog might be correct.

       *       *       *       *       *

If you had happened to be sitting upon the beach of Manhattan Island,
near the spot where is now the Battery, upon the eleventh day of
September, 1609, you would have seen a curiously shaped vessel
floating, lazing, along near the shore, and you would have also seen a
number of weather-scarred navigators who were anxiously peering at the
beach. The name of this boat, with a high poop and a curving prow, was
the _Half Moon_, and her captain was Henry Hudson, or Hendrick Hudson,
as he is sometimes called.

He was not only pleased, but also interested to see a land where was a
goodly lot of timber, lovely islands and broad harbors, pearly beaches
and dusky-bodied inhabitants, who seemed to be peacefully inclined.

And who was this fellow Henry, who had dared to come to explore that
island of Manhattan, where the mighty Woolworth Building was to rise up
in all its splendor, as if to laugh at the former simplicity and quiet
of the brush-covered strip of sandy soil?

Of the early history of the bold mariner hardly anything is known.
He was a native of England, a contemporary and friend of the famous
Captain John Smith, the settler of Virginia, and, like him, was a
professional navigator and intrepid adventurer. He resided in London,
was married, and had a son, to whom he was devotedly attached.

When Hudson was living in London, there were a great many merchants
there who were anxious to learn of a northern and westward route to
the East Indies, from which they imported teas, spices, and many other
articles. The commerce of this country was now brought partly over
land and then floated through the Mediterranean Sea. It was a slow and
laborious route for trade, so those nations farthest removed from the
advantages of that route (such as Spain, Portugal, and England), became
restless, and most desirous of finding a new and a shorter passage to
the East Indies.

In the year 1499, a celebrated Portuguese navigator, called Vasca de
Gama, had doubled the Cape of Good Hope, and, passing onward, had
appeared upon the coast of Hindustan. He had brought back word of
the southern route, but it was such a long and dangerous passage,
that the nations of Europe were not satisfied with it. They desired
a shorter highway to the wealth of the East, and began to think that
they might find it by sailing through the Arctic Ocean, and, passing
northwestwardly around the coast of North America, might journey around
the shore of Asia to the Indies with their marvelous wealth.

A number of rich men who lived in the city of London joined themselves
together as a London Company in the year 1607, and raised sufficient
money to purchase a ship and supply it with provisions for a journey
to the northwest. Knowing that everything depended upon the skill of
the commander, they chose, as their leader, Henry Hudson, who readily
accepted the position.

Upon a bright day in April, the Captain and crew went to the church
of Saint Ethelburge in Bishopsgate Street, and there received the
sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. There were eleven seamen in all, among
whom was John Hudson, son of the daring sea captain. It was a pious and
beautiful custom of those ancient times for seamen to thus act before
entrusting themselves to the mercy of the seas, where they were to meet
with unknown perils.

Strange as it may seem to us now, the object of this voyage was to find
a passage directly across the North Pole to Japan and China. Imagine
these brave fellows setting out in one of the small vessels of those
days to sail to the Pole! It seems absurd, for, even with a vessel
specially constructed to meet the ice packs, Commodore Peary had great
difficulty in keeping his vessel, the _Roosevelt_, from being crushed.
Yet, with their flimsy craft, these adventurers started out in quest of
the much-desired North West passage.

On May 1st. 1607, the navigators weighed anchor at Gravesend, and,
taking a northerly course, in twenty-six days reached the Shetland
Isles. Leaving these wild, rocky shores behind them, they now steered
northwest, and, in a week’s time, although they discovered no land,
they had the satisfaction of seeing six or seven whales near the ship.
Two days later, at 2 o’clock upon a foggy morning, land was seen ahead
of them. It was high, covered with snow, and, at the top, it looked
reddish; underneath a blackish color, with much ice lying about. There
were also great quantities of ducks and other wild-fowl along the
coast, and a whale spouted near the shore. This was the peninsula of

Thick fogs now shut down upon the mariners, accompanied by storms of
rain and of snow. The vessel was sometimes driven before a heavy gale
of wind; at other times becalmed. Yet, in spite of this, Hudson still
held on in a northeasterly course, hoping to sail around the land in
front of him and thus to reach the passage across the North Pole. At
last, discouraged at his slow progress, he determined to steer in an
easterly direction, hoping to find an island which was called Newland
upon the charts.

After sailing about sixteen miles, the ship came within sight of land
and many birds were seen flying over it with black and white stomachs,
and in form like a duck. Fogs again set in and much floating ice was
encountered, yet the vessel was headed onward in a northeasterly
direction. Land was seen at different intervals and the weather was
both temperate and pleasant. So, again steering eastward, the ship
struggled on against hard winds and heavy fogs until it had reached the
coast of Spitzbergen.

Great numbers of whales were playing around in a bay which they ran
into, and, while one of the men was amusing himself with a hook and a
line overboard, in order to try for a bite, one of the monster fish
dove under the vessel and caught upon his line. All the sailors feared
that they would be upset, but the big, black fellow made off without
doing them any serious damage.

“By God’s mercy,” says Hudson, in his diary, “we had no harm but the
loss of the hook and three parts of the line.”

After sailing along the coast for some time, again the mariner headed
for Greenland, hoping to steer around it, towards the north, and then
return to England. But fogs, storms, and floating ice interfered with
his journey, to such an extent, that he was forced to turn around and
head for the place from which he had started.

Thus, after a hard voyage of four months and a half, he sailed up the
river Thames, beaten in his effort to find the North West passage,
yet with the news of many lands which no Englishman had yet seen. His
employers greeted him warmly and were sufficiently well pleased with
his success to trust him with a second adventure, for he had been
farther north than any navigator who had preceded him, and had opened
the commerce of the whale fishery to his countrymen. He was also the
re-discoverer of Spitzbergen, which had first been seen by one William
Barentz, a Dutch navigator, in the year 1596.

Spring had no sooner opened, in the year following, than Hudson
commenced making his preparations for a second voyage. This time he was
to endeavor to seek the passage for the East Indies by passing between
Spitzbergen and Nova Zembla. Thus, with a crew of fifteen persons,
and his son John, he set sail from London on the twenty-second day of
April, heading north, where lay the region of ice and snow.

At one time the vessel would meet large quantities of drift-wood
driving by in a confused mass; then large numbers of whales and
porpoises would be met with, and the sea would be covered with
multitudes of birds. Then again the mariners would come across numbers
of seals lying about upon cakes of ice, and polar bears would lumber
away over the glistening ice-pack. Two of the sailors, also, said that
they saw a mermaid close to the side of the ship, but a big wave came
along and overturned her. As she went down into the surging brine they
saw her tail, which was similar to the tail of a porpoise, and was
speckled like a mackerel.

After sighting land, and exploring numberless bays and harbors, Hudson
finally reached a great sound, into which emptied a stream. The vessel
was anchored, and five men were sent forward in a boat to explore this
river, in order to see whether or not the water-course dipped to the
south and led to a passage through to Asia. But the water became very
shallow, as the explorers proceeded, so they came back and reported
that the vessel could not venture farther upon its way. As the
provisions were now getting somewhat low, Hudson decided to steer for
England. This he did, entering the peaceful Thames, after an absence
of about four months. He was not received with the same cordiality
which had greeted him after his first voyage. His employers had grown
discouraged by these two unsuccessful attempts to find a shorter route
to Asia.

The members of the London Company, in fact, refused to lend any more
money or supplies to Mr. Henry Hudson, so that gallant gentleman took
a jaunt to Holland in order to offer his services to the Dutch East
India Company. His fame had preceded him, and he was greeted with
cordial respect. A small ship was given to him called the _Half Moon_,
and he was requested to go forth once more and discover the North West
passage, upon which his heart was set. With a crew consisting of twenty
Englishmen and Dutchmen, among whom was the same mate who had served
with him upon his last voyage, he was now ready to brave again the ice
and storms of the Arctic seas.

Upon March the 25th., the experienced navigator left New Amsterdam, and
was ere long upon the coast of Nova Zembla, when he met with so much
ice and fog, that he gave up any hope of reaching India by this route.

But Hudson was made of no common clay, and, although beaten by the
elements, which denied him a northern route, determined to sail to
America, that land about which every one in Europe was hearing such
wonderful stories. Furthermore, he had with him some maps which had
been given him by his old friend, Captain John Smith, on which a strait
was marked, south of the fair land of Virginia, by which he might
reach the Pacific Ocean and the East Indies. Then, too, he might gain
a passage through to the northwest, by means of Davis Strait. Why not?
He asked his crew about it, and they voted, to a man, to sail westward.
Many of these bronzed sea-dogs had been trained in the East Indies
service, were accustomed to sailing in warm, tropical climates, and
therefore chose to sail south, rather than to meet the fog, the ice,
and the chill tempests of the northern seas.

Heading towards the West, the _Half Moon_ soon reached one of the Faroe
Islands, where the casks were filled with fresh water, and then the
sails were again hoisted, and a course was set towards Newfoundland.
Early in July the Grand Banks were reached, where was a great fleet
of French fishing smacks, which had come this great distance in order
to catch cod and haddock. As the _Half Moon_ was now becalmed for
several days, the crew was sent to the banks to try their luck, and, in
one day, one hundred and thirty cod-fish were captured. The wind now
freshened, so the mariners sailed towards the west. They soon cleared
the banks, passed the shore of Nova Scotia, and, on the morning of the
12th, saw the coast of North America before them. Clouded by fog banks,
but brown, rock-ribbed, pine-clad, lay the wonderful country which was
inhabited by the deer, the beaver, the moose, and the red Indian.

The _Half Moon_ careened along for several days at some distance from
the land, as the fog was so thick, that Hudson feared to approach.
Finally the sun burned through the mist and the mariners ran into a
goodly harbor at the mouth of a large river. It was Penobscot Bay, upon
the coast of Maine, as beautiful then as it is now.

As the ship was lying-to off the harbor, unable to enter because of the
fog, two birch-bark canoes had approached them, with six natives of the
country, who seemed delighted to see the mariners. Captain Hudson gave
them some glass beads and other trinkets,—then they ate and drank with
him. One of the natives could speak a little French and told them that
the French people were in the habit of trading with them, and that
they had gold, copper, and silver mines near by.

When the _Half Moon_ entered Penobscot Bay, great numbers of the
redskins paddled out to the vessel, climbed on board, and eagerly gazed
upon the sailors, as they mended the sails and made a new foremast.
Some of the mariners went ashore to get a needed supply of water, while
others amused themselves by catching lobsters,—not in a lobster-pot,
you may be sure, but in a small net baited with fish.

Hudson’s men seemed to have had a foolish distrust of the redskins. The
Indians were friendly and wished to trade beaver-pelts and fine furs
for hatchets, beads, and knives; yet the mariners were so suspicious
that they kept a strict watch upon the ship in order to see that no
natives approached under cover of the darkness. At last, their mast
being ready, these navigators manned a boat with twelve men armed
with muskets, and, landing upon the shore, made a savage attack upon
the peaceful red men, whom they drove from their houses. It is to the
disgrace of Hudson that he allowed this to happen, the only excuse
that can be offered being that he had under his command a wild and
ungovernable lot of uneducated Dutch and Englishmen.

Having perpetrated this act of cruelty, the adventurers set sail,
steering southward along the coast of America, and, in a short time
came within sight of Cape Cod. They sounded and found the water
quite deep within bowshot of the shore, and, proceeding to the land,
discovered grapes and rose-trees, which they brought on board their
ship. The _Half Moon_ was now sailed towards the shore and was
anchored there. Here Hudson heard voices calling to him from the beach,
and, thinking that they might be the cries of some poor sailors who had
been left behind, he immediately sent a part of the crew in a boat to
land. Upon jumping out upon the sand, it was found that the calls had
been made by Indians, who appeared to be greatly rejoiced to see them.
The men returned to the ship, bringing one of the natives on board with
them, whom they fed, presented with a few glass buttons, and then put
ashore in the boat. When the redskin reached the land, he gave every
manifestation of great joy, by dancing, leaping, and throwing up his
hands. Then letting out a wild and uncouth yell, he disappeared into
the brush.

Amused and interested, Hudson now steered southeast, and soon passed
the southern point of Cape Cod, which he knew to be the headland which
Bartholomew Gosnold had discovered in 1602, seven years before. He
sailed by Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard and kept upon his course
due south, until, upon the 18th. day of August, he found himself at
the entrance of Chesapeake Bay, where, two years before, the first
English settlement had been made in America. Hudson was filled with
great admiration for these broad waters, and, keeping on, reached the
thirty-fifth degree of latitude, or a position which made him certain
that there was no passage to the South Pacific Ocean, as John Smith had
said. So, retracing his course, he passed the shores of Maryland and
discovered the great bay of Delaware.


“It is a good land to fall in with, and is a pleasant land to see,”
writes Hudson in his diary, transcribed as the _Half Moon_ was sailing
off the shore of Long Branch, New Jersey. The weather was dark and
misty, so, sending some men inshore in order to find out the depth
of the water, the vessel was headed inland, and, upon the morning of
September third, was anchored within Sandy Hook, in five fathoms of
water. The next morning, this bold navigator saw that there was “good
anchorage and a safe harbor,” so he steered his little vessel within
the bay of Sandy Hook, at a distance of two cable lengths from the
shore, resting in the famous harbor of New York.

Could Henry Hudson have looked forward through the years and have
seen the city of tall buildings, wharves, cobbled streets and rolling
elevated-trains which was to cover the island of Manhattan, then lying
tranquilly before his gaze, he would doubtless have passed a night of
restless nightmare. But he had no forward vision, and, as he feasted
his eyes upon a long beach of white sand, behind which were low scrubby
bushes, plum trees, grape vines, and twisted oaks, he peacefully
smoked a long pipe which an Indian brave had given him, and dreamed of
discovering a passage to Asia.

The ship lay drowsily at anchor, and, as it swung upon its chain, many
redskins came paddling out from the shore, clambered on board, and
seemed to be delighted to see these strange visitors. They were dressed
in well-cured deer-skins, which hung loosely over their shoulders, and
had many ornaments of copper scattered upon their persons. They brought
ears of corn with them and also tobacco, which they wished to exchange
for beads, for knives, and for other trinkets. The sailors had much fun
in bartering with them and in smoking their stone pipes.

The ship rode snugly at anchor, but during the night a gale sprang up,
which was of such fury, that the anchor dragged, and the _Half Moon_
was soon high and dry upon the Jersey beach. But she was not even
strained, as the bottom was “soft and oozy,” and when flood-tide came
along she was easily towed into deep water. Yet, this was of great
interest to the native inhabitants, who crowded eagerly to the shore:
men, women and children. They were also very kind, giving the sailors
presents of dried currants and green tobacco. Notwithstanding this, the
mariners suspected them of treachery and kept continually upon their

Henry Hudson saw that a large river emptied into this bay, where lay
the _Half Moon_, so he sent five men in order to explore and discover
how far he could go. They passed through what is now known as the
Narrows, found the land to be covered with trees, grass, and flowers,
the fragrance of which was delightful, and, after going six miles into
New York Bay, turned back. Now an unhappy event was to occur, yet
one which showed that the distrust of the natives was a well-founded

The boat was being driven along toward the ship, just at dusk, when it
was attacked by two canoes containing twenty-six redskinned warriors of
old-time New York. Rain was falling, so it was impossible to use the
ancient muskets, or match-locks, which were touched off by means of a
lighted fuse. The white men could therefore make no defense and rowed
off as fast as they could, while a shower of Indian arrows fell into
the boat, striking three of the explorers in the body. One of them,
John Colman, was killed by an arrow which struck him in the neck. He
had been with Hudson in his first voyage and was greatly loved by the
brave and resolute navigator.

In this, the first boat race in New York harbor between the redskins
and the whites, the white men were victorious, for they escaped into
the darkness and wandered around all night. In the dim gray of the
early morn they found the ship; climbed thankfully on board, and told
of their experience with some show of anxiety, for they feared a
general attack from the red men. None came, however, and the dead body
of Colman was taken ashore at Sandy Hook, where it was buried in the
soil at a place called Colman’s Point.

Just as soon as the burying party had returned to the ship, the boat
was hoisted in, and bulwarks were erected upon the sides in order to
repel the expected Indian attack. But none came. The night was quiet,
only the lapping of the water around the ship’s bow could be heard,
and, when day dawned, numerous redskins paddled out to the vessel in
the most friendly manner, bringing corn and tobacco to trade with the
sailors. From their actions, it appeared that they knew nothing of the
battle upon the previous day, and they left in good humor, promising
to return next morning with more provisions and many beaver-skins for

In the flush of the early dawn, two large canoes came off to the _Half
Moon_, one filled with men armed with bows and arrows, who seemed to be
in war paint. Hudson was suspicious of treachery, so only allowed two
of the braves to come on board, whom he dressed up in red coats. The
remaining savages returned to the shore, and presently another canoe
approached in which were two lone warriors. One of them was allowed to
come on deck, Hudson intending to keep him as a hostage to insure the
good behavior of his fellow citizens on the Isle of Manhattan.

The redskins, however, did not seem to like their fair-skinned
brothers, and one immediately dove into the sea and swam hastily
ashore. Expecting an immediate attack, Hudson weighed anchor and
floated the _Half Moon_ off into the channel of the Narrows, where he
again anchored for the night. He expected an assault, but none came, so
he set sail, next morning, for the Bay of New York, which he says that
he found to be “an excellent harbor for all winds.” He again anchored,
and the _Half Moon_ was soon surrounded by the Indians, who were
apparently friendly “making a great show of love, and giving tobacco
and Indian wheat.” The navigators, however, were afraid of an attack
and kept continually upon their guard, yet the red men departed to the
shore, and all was peace and quiet, save for the mewing of the sea
gulls and the squawking of a great blue heron, as he winged his way to
the inland marshes.

The dreamy haze of September hung over the swirling, blue river as
Henry Hudson gazed up the stream which was to ever afterwards bear
his name, and, upon the morning of the twelfth, he weighed anchor, and
steered towards the northwest. Twenty-eight canoes had visited him
that morning, filled with redskinned men, women and children, who had
brought oysters and clams to trade for blue beads and glass trinkets.
The braves smoked great tobacco pipes of yellow color and their cheeks
were smeared with red ochre, so that the mariners were suspicious of
them, and, although they traded with them, allowed none to come upon
the deck.

The wind was unpropitious, so the _Half Moon_ only sailed about two
leagues, when it anchored for the night. Yet, next day, the wind was
fresher, so the vessel proceeded to travel about eleven miles, until it
came opposite the present town of Yonkers, where the anchor was again
let down. The redskins immediately crowded around the boat, but none
were allowed to come on board, as the navigators feared treachery.

The weather continued to be fair, so the _Half Moon_ proceeded upon her
way, and, driven by a strong breeze, finally anchored in a region where
the land was very high and mountainous, evidently the neighborhood of
the Highlands and near the present site of the West Point Military
Academy. No cries of “Battalion, Attention!” “Squads, Right!” or
“Forward, March!” then echoed from the peaceful shore; instead of this,
the mariners heard the hooting of a great, brown owl, while far off
upon the mountain-side glimmered the camp-fire of a straggling band
of Indians. As night descended upon the wilderness, the scream of a
panther reverberated from the dense foliage of the high hills, which
were beautiful with the first changing colors of autumn. The stream
was narrowing, instead of expanding, so, thought Hudson, could it be
possible that, after all, there was no passage to the East Indies?

A filmy mist hung over the rippling waters of the stream, next morning,
but as the sun shone, a clear wind arose which seemed to blow it away.
As Hudson gave orders to his men to haul up the anchor, a sudden splash
near the vessel’s side made him run to the gunwale and look eagerly
into the water, expecting to see a small whale, or a porpoise. Instead,
the head of a redskin bobbed up in the ripples of the stream, as with
furious strokes, one of the braves who had been held prisoner, swam
towards the shore. Another head appeared. The two red men, who had been
held as hostages, had escaped through the port hole.

The Indians soon reached the banks of the stream, climbed out, and
standing there with clenched fists, shook them vindictively at the
white men, making loud and angry cries. Not at all worried at the
happening, Hudson kept on up the now narrowing river, passed by
high mountains upon either side, and finally came in sight of other
mountains, about fifty miles from his former anchorage. Here the
redskins came out to view the curious vessel, and, says Hudson in his
journal, they were “very loving people and very old men, who treated us
very kindly.” The anchor was cast and a boat was sent off with sailors
to catch fish, of which there was a great abundance.

Going ashore, next day, the brave navigator there met an old chieftain
who lived in a circular house and was surrounded by forty men and
seventeen women. The aged redskin was hospitably inclined and begged
the white man to come and feast with him, an invitation which Hudson
readily accepted. Two mats were immediately spread for him to sit upon
and food was brought forward in large, red bowls made of wood. Several
natives were meantime dispatched into the woods in search of game.

After awhile the braves returned with a pair of pigeons which were
roasted upon the fire. A feast was now held, consisting of corn,
beans, pigeon and fat dog, after which Hudson was requested to spend
the night. “I must return,” said the mariner, but this seemed to worry
the chief redskin, so that his people took all of their arrows, and,
breaking them in pieces, threw them into the fire, as they supposed
that the explorer was afraid of them. However, Hudson would not remain
in the wigwam, preferring to sleep among his own compatriots.

After trading with the red men, who brought Indian corn, pumpkins and
tobacco to the ship, the _Half Moon_ was again steered up-stream,
until the water was found to be very shoal. This was probably near the
spot where the city of Hudson has grown up. The weather was warm and
enervating, but the vessel was kept upon her course until she reached
several small islands in the middle of the river, and also very shallow
water, which made it impossible to proceed. As night came on, the
vessel drifted near the shore and grounded. But she was floated off by
means of an anchor, and again lay peacefully in the stream.

Hudson had now proceeded about as far as he could go, and saw that
it was impossible to reach the East Indies by way of the winding
water-course upon which his vessel lay. His men who had been sent
up-stream to explore, in the small boat, brought back word that there
was nothing but still shallower water above. So it was apparent that
the vessel must return to the sea again, and another passage must
be sought for. Yet, before he returned, he determined to make an
experiment with some of these many Indians who were crowding about his
vessel, in order to learn if they were really treacherous, or were
peacefully inclined. This experiment was to be by means of the famous
Holland gin, or “fire water” of the white men, and it was decided to
place some of the red men under its influence.

Next day, several of the Indian braves were invited down to the broad
cabin of the _Half Moon_, where gin and brandy was given them, until
they were all as merry as a marriage bell.

Their squaws looked innocently on as their lords and masters betook
plentifully of the cup that cheers, and saw all of them become, first
merry, then boisterous, then drowsy. Finally one Indian brave became so
deeply intoxicated that he fell asleep upon a bench, snoring with right
good will. All of his companions now arose in great fright, for they
feared that he was poisoned. Taking to their canoes, they cried out
with some show of anger: “You pale faces have sent our brother to the
Land of the Great Spirit. Ugh! Ugh! You have poisoned him!” They did
not, however, forget their poor companion, and several soon returned,
bringing with them long strings of beads which they offered to Hudson,
saying: “Take these, brother, and let us have our miserable friend.
He has gone to the Land of the Hereafter!” But the mariner declined,

“Let your brother sleep. He is safe with us and will get well. The
Great Spirit is watching over him and you need fear nothing.”

The redskin slept peacefully all night, and, when his frightened
countrymen came out to see him, next day, they were rejoiced to find
him alive and smiling. Crying out, “Ugh! Ugh! The white man was right.
The Great Spirit has looked carefully after our brother,” the red
men paddled him joyfully to the shore, but soon returned, bringing
beads and tobacco, which they gave to Hudson. They also presented him
with a large platter of venison. “Pray take this, brother,” said a
bronze-skinned chieftain. “We love our brother, for he has let no harm
come to our beloved friend who has loved the fire water far too well.
Ugh! Ugh!”

Disappointed in not finding the passage to the far East, Hudson now
prepared to return. But how far had he gone? Writers seem to disagree
upon this point, yet, when one considers that the _Half Moon_ was a
small boat, not as large as many of the stone sloops which now sail in
the North River, it is reasonable to suppose that it went up the Hudson
to a place about in the neighborhood of where Albany now stands, while
the boat which was sent on ahead to explore the stream, advanced as far
as the town of Waterford.

It was now the twenty-seventh day of September, the weather was
balmy, and the leaves of the forest were turning with the first chill
of Autumn. The _Half Moon_ drifted slowly down the broadening river,
passing the home of the hospitable, old chieftain, near Catskill’s
Landing. The redskin came out in his canoe, begging Hudson to come
ashore and eat with him; but the wind was too fresh for the navigator
to listen to his invitation, so the boat kept on down-stream, leaving
the old chief “very sorrowful for their departure.” Toward night the
vessel anchored near what is now known as Red Hook Landing, where the
sailors had splendid fishing in the blue depths of the magnificent

Now, detained for a day by head winds, the ship dropped slowly down the
river, passing the famous highlands of the Hudson where the mountains
looked as if there were some metal, or mineral in them. “The hills
seemed to be all blasted, some of them barren with few or no trees
on them.” The Indians still crowded around the boat, several of them
bringing a stone on board which was like emery, for it would cut iron
or steel. On the 1st day of October, with a fair wind behind, the _Half
Moon_ sailed through the highlands, and, reaching a point opposite
Stony point, was becalmed, and cast anchor.

No sooner had the pronged holding-iron touched bottom than the redskins
came crowding around, astonished at everything they saw, and desirous
of trade. They offered pumpkins, beaver skins, and dried plums for
exchange, but apparently could not procure all that they wished, for
one fellow was prompted to steal. Paddling his birch bark canoe near
the stern of the _Half Moon_, he crawled up the rudder into the cabin
window and made off with a pillow and some clothes. Jumping stealthily
into his canoe, he paddled away as fast as he was able, but was seen
by the Mate, who shot and killed him. As he dropped lifeless into the
stern of his canoe, the remaining red men fled in terror, some even
leaping overboard to swim for it. Meanwhile the ship’s boat was manned
and a number of sailors were sent to rescue the stolen articles, which
were easily obtained. As the boat headed for the _Half Moon_, one of
the swimming redskins took hold of the stern and endeavored to overturn
her. When he did this, the cook drew a sword, and, making a vicious
blow at him, cut off his hand. Shrieking with pain, the poor creature
sank to the bottom, never to rise again. The sailors hastened their
rowing, were soon on board the ship, and, fearing an attack, hoisted
sail in order to drop down the stream to the mouth of the Croton River.

The next day was a clear one, with a fair wind, so the _Half Moon_
sailed twenty-one miles to a position somewhere near the head of
Manhattan Island, where there was quite a deal of trouble in store for
these valiant navigators. As you remember, on the way up the stream,
Hudson had held two red men captive, who had escaped through the
porthole. These had returned to their fellows, angry and indignant
at their captivity, and had raised their compatriots to a revengeful
spirit against these white interlopers. The warriors had assembled
along the shores of the river, and, as the _Half Moon_ approached, a
canoe neared the vessel, in which was one of those who had escaped,
and many others, armed with bows and with arrows. Although they
attempted to come on board, the wise Hudson would not allow this to be
done. Showing anger by their gesticulations, the redskins withdrew, but
presently two canoes filled with armed warriors dropped under the stem
and began to attack the vessel by showering arrows at her. The mariners
fired six muskets at the red men and three of them fell dead in the
bottom of their birch-bark canoes.

The Indians who were on the shore, and had been keeping a keen watch
upon the affair, now moved down to the beach in a solid body (there
were about one hundred in all) and shot arrows at the ship, as she
floated by. A cannon was now loaded with ball and was discharged among
them, whereby two of them fell mortally wounded. The remainder fled
into the woods, with the exception of nine or ten desperate men, who,
resolved upon revenge, jumped into a canoe and advanced to fight the
ship at close quarters. But the cannon was again discharged, the canoe
was pierced by the ball, and three or four redskins were killed by
musket shots. The rest swam to shore.

The ship was sailing slowly onward, and, after skirting the shore for
about two miles, dropped anchor beneath the cliffs at Hoboken. The day
following was a stormy one, but the fourth of October was clear, with
an excellent wind, so the _Half Moon_ weighed anchor, passed through
the bay, and, with all sails set, shoved her nose into the swirling
billows of the broad Atlantic, leaving the noble river far astern.

The mate was in favor of wintering in Newfoundland, and of then seeking
a passage to the Far East by means of the Davis Strait, but Hudson
opposed this. The course of the _Half Moon_ was kept in a line for
England, where, on the seventh day of November, after an absence of
a little more than seven months from Amsterdam, she glided into the
harbor of Dartmouth. The crew, as you doubtless remember, was composed
partly of English, partly of Dutch sailors, and, it is said that the
Englishmen refused to allow their Captain to sail into a Dutch harbor.
Dutch historians declare, that, as the English King was jealous of the
bold mariner’s enterprises, he was not allowed to sail to Holland. At
any rate, Hudson remembered his duty to his employers, and sent them a
journal and chart of his discoveries, pointing with great pride to what
he called “the Great River of the Mountains.” The Dutch soon came over
to settle the new-found country, and named the stream the North River,
to distinguish it from the Delaware, or South River. The Indians called
it Cahohatatea, Mahackaneghtue, and sometimes Shatemuck.

This successful voyage had now given Hudson a great name, and his
discoveries fired his old employers of the London Company with
enthusiasm. So they again called him into their service, determined
to make an effort to find the North West passage by examining the
inlets of this wonderful continent of America,—more particularly Davis
Strait, through which it was supposed a channel might be found into the
“Great South Sea.” Hudson was furnished with the ship _Discovery_, of
fifty-five tons, which, equipped and manned with twenty-three men, set
out for the Far West. This journey was to be his last one.

Upon the 17th. of April, 1610, the _Discovery_ passed out of the mouth
of the Thames, and, sailing near the coast of Scotland, the Orkney,
Shetland and Faroe Islands, left the coast of Ireland astern, and
headed for the barren shores of Greenland. Great numbers of whales
were encountered, and two of these sea monsters dove underneath the
ship, but did the craft no harm. It was soon evident that there was
a turbulent and mutinous disposition among the crew,—Robert Juet,
the Mate, being the chief offender, for he had remarked to one of the
sailors that there would be bloodshed before the voyage was over, and
he was evidently plotting to seize the vessel, even at this early date.

The history of this journey is very similar to that of most of the
Arctic explorers. Hudson and his men met great, floating fields of
ice; were chilled by the perpetual frost and snow; and were finally
starved into a submissive recognition of the fact that there could be
no passage to Asia through the desolate region of the frozen North.

Yet, the adventurous mariner discovered the great bay which bears
his name and also the strait which is known as Hudson Strait. Forced
to winter upon the land near Cape Digges, he soon discovered that
his food supply was so low, that, should not succor come to him, he
and his men would die of starvation. Luckily, there were many white
partridges, or ptarmigan, near the ship, which supplied them with
provender, and, when Spring came, great numbers of swans, of geese,
ducks and other water-fowl came soaring by. Unfortunately they went
farther North to breed, so the poor explorers were forced to search the
hills, the woods, and the valleys for anything which might afford them
subsistence, even eating the moss which grew upon the ground.

About the time when the ice began to break up, a brown-skinned savage,
doubtless an Eskimo, put in his appearance, and, as he was treated
well, returned in a day or so, bringing beaver and other skins, which
he gave to Hudson and his men, in return for presents which he had
received the day before. He went away, promising to visit them again,
but, as he did not do so, it is evident that he did not think that the
white men had given him good treatment.

The ice had now begun to melt, so the ship was headed southward. It was
the middle of June, yet there were still great quantities of floating
ice, so much, in fact, that the vessel was obliged to anchor. The food
supply was about exhausted and all that was left was a little bread and
a few pounds of cheese. Hudson now told one of the crew to search the
chests of all of the men in order to find any provisions which might be
concealed there. The sailor obeyed and brought the Captain thirty cakes
in a bag. When the crew learned this, they were greatly exasperated,
and plotted open mutiny against the famous navigator.

The vessel had been detained about a week in the ice when the first
signs of mutiny appeared. Two sailors, called Greene and Wilson, the
latter being the Boatswain, came one night to another mariner called
Pricket, and told him that several of the crew had resolved to seize
Hudson and set him adrift in a boat with all those on board who had
been disabled by sickness.

“There are only a few days’ provisions left,” said Greene, “and the
master seems to be entirely irresolute which way to go. I, myself, have
eaten nothing for three days, so our only hope is to take command of
the ship, and, after escaping from these regions, we will go back to

Pricket remonstrated with them, saying: “If you stain yourselves with
so great a crime you will be banished from England forever. Pray delay
your intention for four or five days, when we will be free of the ice
and can doubtless get plenty of fish in our nets.”

Upon this Greene took up the Bible which lay there and swore that he
would “do no man harm, and that what he did was for the good of the
voyage and nothing else.”

There were many poor fellows who were ill and it was determined to
maroon them in the boat with Hudson, so that the mutineers could do as
they wished with the _Discovery_, and would not be hampered by either
their master or any one who could not work the ship. It was decided to
put the plot into execution at day-break.

As Hudson came up from the cabin, next morning, after eating a scanty
breakfast, he was immediately seized by two sailors and his arms were
bound fast behind him.

“What does this mean, men?” cried he, with great indignation.

Only sneers of defiance greeted his question. He now called upon the
ship’s carpenter to help him, telling him that he was bound, but, as
this poor fellow was also surrounded by mutineers, he could render him
no assistance.

The boat was now hauled alongside, and the sick and the lame were made
to come up from below. They were told to get in, and Hudson’s little
son was forced to clamber over the steep sides of the vessel, and to
lie upon the bottom of the boat. The sails were now hoisted upon the
_Discovery_, and she stood eastward with a fair wind, dragging the
poor fellows in the boat, astern. In a few hours, being clear of the
ice, the rope leading to the shallop was cut, and soon afterwards the
mutineers lost sight of Henry Hudson forever.

The hardy adventurer was never heard of again. As for the mutineers,
although they steered for Ireland, before they reached the coast they
were so weakened that no one was found strong enough to stand by the
helm. When only one fowl was left for their subsistence and another day
would be their last, they abandoned all care of the vessel and prepared
to meet their fate. Suddenly the joyful cry of “a sail” was heard,
and a fishing vessel came alongside which took them into a harbor of
Ireland. They arrived in London after an absence of one year and five

The English people were horrified to learn of the treatment which
the mutinous crew had administered to Henry Hudson and sent out two
vessels, the next Spring, in the hope of learning something of the fate
of this brave navigator. Yet nothing was ever seen or heard of the
unfortunate discoverer, who perished amidst the fogs and the ice of
that bleak, northern ocean.

Hudson was brave, resourceful, and resolute. He has been accused of
cruelty to the Indians, and of want of high principle in causing their
general intoxication when sailing upon the great river which was to
be named after him. Yet you must remember that he had a mutinous body
of men under his command, and could not easily restrain them from
returning insult for injury, when their redskinned friends shot arrows
at them. The death of the nine Indians killed at the head of Manhattan
Island may be said to have been caused in a war of self-defense. As for
the charge of heartlessness in getting the redskins intoxicated, you
must also remember, that, like his men, he was suspicious and alarmed,
and therefore was determined to learn the honesty or treachery of
the Indians by any means whatsoever. In England, they grieved deeply
for the death of such a gallant countryman, and in the new world he
has perpetual monuments to his memory, for here a great bay, a city,
and a mighty river, all bear the name of this brave yet unfortunate


  The wind blew from the northland, as the frozen bergs went by,
  And it sobbed a song through the grizzly murk, to the bobbing siren’s
  It sang of men of daring, and it whined of maids of the mist,
  Who burnish the shields of their men-at-arms, where the ice with the
      sunset’s kissed.
  Ah! it told of Leif the Lucky, with his sword and his Vikings bold,
  Who hounded the bear to his cavern in the land where the penguins
  We heard the clang of their axes; we were jarred with the crash of
      their swords,
  As the blaring bugles shrilled their notes in thin, transparent words.
  And the wind sang of brave Hudson, and it sobbed for his starving son,
  As, adrift in a boat, they were chilled by the glut of that night
      without a sun.
  And the blast sobbed out its tale of death, of Baffin, Franklin, and
  Of Marvin, de Long, and Parry; of the days of sorrow and pain.
  Yet, the blinding sea-mew caroled with joy, as it whined by the
      loitering fleet,
  Which cruised where the cod and the haddock shoal, at the rock-ribbed
      island’s feet.
  And it shouted and roared a pæan, to the heroes who’d carried a flag,
  A bit of a piece of red, white, and blue, to the spot where the
      ice-drifts sag,
  As it southward flew, it grew and it grew, ’til it roared out a
      rollicking psalm,
  To Peary, MacMillan, Borup; brave travelers, silent and calm.
  Southward it sang its slogan, where the tossing palm groves sway,
  And it rolled out a cheer of three times three, for “Uncle Sam and the
      U. S. A.!”




  _Where sheldrakes dart on Lak Niege,_
  _Where the lazy beaver swim,_
  _He drove his blade and packed the trail,_
  _By the icy snow lake’s rim._
  _From the shores of Athabasca,_
  _To the caves of Saguenay,_
  _From the sleepy Mistassini,_
  _To the marsh of Hudson Bay;_
  _From the steppes of old Fort Caribou,_
  _From the glades of Fon du Lac,_
  _He slept and dwelt with redskins,_
  _And followed the unknown track._




IT was at the trading post of Three Rivers on the St. Lawrence River,
the year 1662, and the time, early in the morning, when the wood thrush
had just begun his call. Strange things happened then, but these
were frontier days when strange things used to happen, so do not be
surprised when you learn what befell Pierre Radisson, son of a French
emigrant to Canada, and then a youth of about seventeen years of age.

With two companions, young Pierre had gone out from the stockade to
shoot ducks on Lake St. Peter, not far from this first home of the
French emigrants to Canada.

The sportsmen were all young, for only young boys would have left the
shelter of the fortification at this time, as all the Canadians knew
that the dreaded Iroquois had been lying in ambush around the little
settlement of Three Rivers, day and night, for a whole year. In fact,
not a week passed but that some settler was set upon in the fields and
left dead by the terrible redskins. Farmers had flocked to the little
fortification and would only venture back to their broad acres when
armed with a musket.

But these were only boys, and, like all boys, they went along, boasting
how they would fight when the Indians came. One kept near the edge of
the forest, on the lookout for the Iroquois, while the others kept to
the water in quest of game. They had gone along in this manner for
about three miles, when they met a fellow who was tending sheep.

“Keep out from the foot of the hills!” he called to them. “The Iroquois
are there! I saw about a hundred heads rising out of the bushes about
an hour ago.”

The boys loaded their pistols and primed their muskets.

In a short time they shot some ducks, and this seemed to satisfy one of
the young men.

“I have had enough,” said he. “I am going back to the stockade where I
can be safe.”

“And I will go with you,” said the second.

But young Radisson laughed at them.

“If you are afraid to go forward,” said he, “I will go ahead by myself.”

So the wild youth went onward, shooting game at many places, until, at
length, he had a large number of geese, ducks, and teal. There were
more than he could possibly carry, so, hiding in a hollow tree the game
that he could not bring back, he began trudging towards Three Rivers.
Wading swollen brooks and scrambling over fallen trees, he finally
caught sight of the town chapel, glimmering in the sunlight against the
darkening horizon above the river. He had reached the place where his
comrades had left him, so he sat down to rest himself.

The shepherd had driven his sheep back to Three Rivers and there was
no one near. The river came lapping through the rushes. There was a
clacking of ducks as they came swooping down to their marsh nests and
Radisson felt strangely lonely. He noticed, too, that his pistols were
water-soaked. Emptying the charges, he re-loaded, then crept back to
reconnoiter the woodland. Great flocks of ducks were swimming on the
river, so he determined to have one more shot before he returned to the
fort, now within easy hail.

Young Pierre crept through the grass towards the game, but he suddenly
stopped, for, before him was a sight that rooted him to the ground with
horror. Just as they had fallen, naked and scalped, with bullet and
hatchet wounds all over their bodies, lay his comrades of the morning.
They were stone dead, lying face upward among the rushes.

Radisson was too far away from the woods to get back to them, so,
stooping down, he tried to reach a hiding place in the marsh. As he
bent over, half a hundred tufted heads rose from the high grass, and
beady eyes looked to see which way he might go. They were behind him,
before him, on all sides of him,—his only hope was a dash for the
cane-grown river, where he might hide himself until darkness would give
him a chance to rush to the fort.

Slipping a bullet and some powder into his musket as he ran, and
ramming it down, young Pierre dashed through the brushwood for a place
of safety. _Crash!_ A score of guns roared from the forest. He turned,
and fired back, but; before he could re-load, an Iroquois brave was
upon him, he was thrown upon his back, was disarmed, his hands were
bound behind him with deer thongs, and he was dragged into the woods,
where the Indians flaunted the scalps of his friends before his eyes.
Half drawn, half driven, he was taken to the shore where a flotilla of
canoes was hidden. Fires were kindled, and, upon forked sticks driven
into the ground, the redskins boiled a kettle of water for the evening

The Iroquois admired bravery in any man, and they now evinced a certain
affection for this young Frenchman, for, in defiance of danger, they
had seen him go hunting alone. When attacked, he had fired back at
enough enemies to have terrified any ordinary Canadian. This they
liked, so his clothing was returned to him, they daubed his cheeks with
war paint, shaved his head in the manner of the redskinned braves, and,
when they saw that their stewed dog turned him faint, they boiled him
some meat in clean water and gave him some meal, browned upon burning
sand. That night he slept beneath a blanket, between two warriors.

In the morning the Indians embarked in thirty-seven canoes, two
redskins in each boat, with young Pierre tied to a cross-bar in one
of them. Spreading out on the river, they beat their paddles upon the
gunwales of their bateaux, shot off their guns, and uttered their
shrill war cry,—“Ah-oh! Ah-oh! Ah-oh!”

The echoes carried along the wailing call, and in the log stockade
the Canadians looked furtively at one another as the horrid sound was
borne to them by the gentle wind. Then the chief stood up in his canoe,
signaled silence, and gave three long blood-curdling yells. The whole
company answered with a quavering chorus like wolf barks, and, firing
their guns into the air, the canoes were driven out into the river,
past the nestling log-stockade of Three Rivers, and up the current of
the rushing stream. By sunset they were among the islands at the mouth
of the river Richelieu, where were great clouds of wild-ducks, which
darkened the air at their approach.

Young Pierre bore up bravely, determined to remain with his captors
until an opportunity to escape presented itself. The red men treated
him kindly, saying: “_Chagon! Chagon!_ Be merry! Cheer up!” He was
given a paddle and was told to row, which he did right willingly.
Another band of warriors was met with on the river, and the prisoner
was forced to show himself as a trophy of victory and to sing songs
for his captors, which he did to the best of his ability. That evening
an enormous camp-fire was kindled and the united bands danced a
scalp-dance around it, flaunting the scalps of the two dead French boys
from spear heads, and reënacted in pantomime all the episodes of the
massacre, while the women beat on rude, Indian drums.

Pierre was now a thorough savage. He was given a tin looking-glass by
which the Indians used to signal by the sun, and also a hunting knife.
The Iroquois neared Lake Champlain where the river became so turbulent
that they were forced to land and make a portage. Young Radisson
hurried over the rocks, helping the older warriors to carry their
packs. As night came on, he was the first to cut wood for the camp-fire.

It was now about a week since the redmen had left Lake St. Peter and
they entered the gray waste of Lake Champlain. Paddling down its entire
length, they entered the waters of beautiful Lake George, and, beaching
the canoes upon its western bank, abandoned them: the warriors striking
out through the forest for the country of the Iroquois. For two days
they thus journeyed from the lake, when they were met by several
women, who loaded themselves down with the luggage of the party, and
accompanied the victorious braves to the village. Here the whole tribe
marched out to meet them, singing, firing guns, shouting a welcome,
dancing a war-dance of joy.

It was now time for young Pierre to run the gauntlet. Sometimes the
white prisoners were slowly led along with trussed arms and shackled
feet, so that they could not fail to be killed before they reached the
end of the line. With Radisson it was different. He was stripped free
and was told to run so fast that his tormentors could not hit him. He
did this and reached the end of the human lane unscathed.

As the white boy dashed free of the line of his tormentors, a captive
Huron woman, who had been adopted by the tribe, caught him and led him
to her cabin, where she fed and clothed him. But soon a band of braves
marched to her door, demanded his surrender, and took him to the
Council Lodge of the Iroquois for judgment.

Radisson was led into a huge cabin, where several old men sat solemnly
around a central fire, smoking their calumets, or peace pipes. He was
ordered to sit down. A coal of fire was then put into the bowl of the
great Council Pipe and it was passed reverently around the assemblage.
The old Huron woman now entered, waved her arms aloft, and begged for
the life of the young man. As she made her appeal, the old men smoked
on silently with deep, guttural “ho-ho’s” meaning “Yes—yes. We are
much pleased.” So she was granted permission to adopt Radisson as a
son. The nerve and courage of the young French boy had thus saved his
life. He must bide his time,—bye and bye, he would have an opportunity
to escape.

It was soon Autumn, the period of the hunt, so young Pierre set out
into the forest with three savages in order to lay in a supply of meat
for the winter months. One night, as the woodland rovers were returning
to their wigwams, there came the sound of some one singing through
the leafy thicket, and a man approached. He was an Algonquin brave, a
captive among the Iroquois, and he told them that he had been on the
track of bear since day-break. He was welcomed to the camp-fire, and,
when he learned that Radisson was from Three Rivers, he immediately
grew friendly with the captive white boy.

That evening, when the camp-fire was roaring and crackling so that the
Iroquois could not hear what he said, the Indian told Radisson that he
had been a captive for two years and that he longed to make his escape.

“Hist! Boy!” said he. “Do you love the French?”

Pierre looked around cautiously.

“Do you love the Algonquins?” he replied.

“As I do my own mother,” was the answer. Then, leaning closer, the
warrior whispered: “Brother—white man—let us escape! The Three
Rivers, it is not so far off! Will you live like a dog in bondage, or
will you have your liberty with the French?” Then he lowered his voice.
“Let us kill all three of these hounds to-night, when they are asleep,
and then let us paddle away, up Lake Champlain, again to the country of
our own people.”

Radisson’s face grew pale beneath his war paint. He hesitated to
answer, and, as he looked about him, the suspicious Iroquois cried out:

“Why so much whispering?”

“We are telling hunting stories,” answered the Algonquin, smiling.

This seemed to satisfy the Iroquois, for, wearied by the day’s hunt,
they soon dozed off in sleep and were snoring heavily: their feet to
the glowing embers. Their guns were stacked carelessly against a tree.
It was the time for action.

The French boy was terrified lest the Algonquin should carry out his
threat, and so pretended to be asleep. Rising noiselessly, the captive
redskin crept up to the fire and eyed the three sleeping Mohawks with
no kindly glance. The redmen slept heavily on, while the cry of a
whip-poor-will sounded ominously from the black and gloomy forest.

The crafty Algonquin stepped, like a cat, over the sleeping forms of
the braves, took possession of their firearms, and then walked to
where Radisson was lying. The French boy rose uneasily. As he did so,
the Indian thrust a tomahawk into one of his hands, pointing, with a
menacing gesture, to the three Iroquois. Radisson’s hand shook like a

But the captive red man’s hand did not shake, and, lifting his own
hatchet, he had brained one of the sleeping redskins without more ado.
Pierre endeavored to imitate the warrior, but, unnerved with the horror
of it all, he lost hold of his tomahawk, just as it struck the head
of the sleeping Iroquois. The redskin leaped to his feet, uttering a
wild yell, which awakened the third sleeper. But he had no chance to
rise, as the Algonquin felled him with one, swift blow, while Radisson,
recovering his hatchet, hit the second red man with such force, that he
fell back, lifeless.

Hurray! Radisson was free!

The Algonquin did not waste precious moments; but, hastily scalping the
dead, he threw their bodies into the river, then, packing up all their
possessions, they placed them in the canoe, took to the water, and
slipped away towards Lake Champlain.

“I was sorry to have been in such an encounter,” writes Radisson. “But
it was too late to repent.”

The fugitives were a long way from Three Rivers, on the St. Lawrence,
and they knew that many roving Iroquois were hunting in the country
between them and the French settlement. They must go carefully, be
perpetually on their guard, and then,—they would be among their own
people again! Only, caution! caution! And never a sound at any time!

Traveling only at night, and hiding during the day, the fugitives
crossed Lake Champlain, entered the Richelieu, and, after many
portages, finally swept out upon the wide surface of Lake St. Peter,
in the St. Lawrence. They paddled hard and were soon within a day’s
journey of Three Rivers, yet they were in greater danger then than
at any time in the hazardous trip, as the Iroquois had infested this
part of the St. Lawrence for more than a year, and often lay hidden
in the rush-grown marshes and the wooded islands, waiting for some
unsuspecting French Canadian to pass by. It was four o’clock in the
morning when the Algonquin and white boy reached the side of Lake St.
Peter. They cooked their breakfast, covered the fire, and lay down to

At six o’clock, the Algonquin shook Pierre by the shoulder, urging him
to cross the lake to the Three Rivers side.

“The Iroquois are lurking about here,” the French boy answered. “I am
afraid to go. Let us wait until dark. Then, all will be well.”

“No, no,” answered the brave. “Let us paddle forward. We are past fear.
Let us shake off the yoke of these whelps who have killed so many
French and black robes (priests). If you do not come now, I will leave
you, and I will tell the Governor that you were afraid to come.”

Radisson consented to take a chance at getting to the stockade,
although his judgment told him to wait until dark. So the canoe was
pushed out from the rushes, and, with strong strokes, the flimsy boat
was driven towards the north shore. They were half way across, when
Pierre called out: “I see shadows on the water ahead.”

The Indian, who was in the stern, stood up, saying:

“It is but the shadow of a flying bird. There is no danger.”

So they kept on; but, as they progressed, the shadows multiplied, for
they were the reflections of many Iroquois, hidden among the rushes.
The fugitives now saw them, and, heading their canoe for the south
shore, fled for their lives.

On, on they went; but, on, on, came the Iroquois. The redskins came
nearer and nearer, there was a crash of musketry and the bottom of
the canoe was punctured by a ball. The Algonquin fell dead with two
bullet wounds in his head, while the canoe gradually filled with water,
settled, and sank, with the young Frenchman clinging to the side. Now a
firm hand seized him, and he was hauled into one of the canoes of the

The victors set up a shrill yelp of triumph. Then they went ashore,
kindled a great fire, tore the heart out of the dead Algonquin, put his
head on a pike, and cast the mutilated body into the flames. Radisson
was bound, roped around the waist, and thrown down upon the ground,
where he lay with other captives: two Frenchmen, one white woman, and
twenty Hurons.

In seventeen canoes, the Iroquois now paddled up the Richelieu River
for their own country, frequently landing to camp and cook, at which
times young Pierre was pegged out on the sand, and left to be tortured
by sand-flies and mosquitoes.

When they reached the village, Radisson was greeted with shouts of
rage by the friends of the murdered Mohawks, who, armed with rods and
skull-crackers (leather bags loaded with stones) rushed upon him and
beat him sorely. As the prisoners moved on, the Hurons wailed the
death dirge. But suddenly there broke from the throng of onlookers the
Iroquois family that had adopted young Pierre. Pushing through the
crowd of torturers, the mother caught Radisson by the hair, crying out:
“Orimba! Orimba!” She then cut the thongs that bound him to the poles,
and shoved him to her husband, who led the trembling young Frenchman to
their own lodge.

“Thou fool,” cried the old chief, turning wrathfully upon the young
man. “Thou wast my son! Thou lovest us not, although we saved thy life!
Wouldst kill me, too?” Then he shoved him to a mat upon the ground,
saying: “_Chagon_—now be merry! It is a fine business you’ve gotten
yourself into, to be sure.”

Radisson sank to the ground, trembling with fear, and endeavored to
eat something. He was relating his adventures when there was a roar of
anger from the Iroquois outside, and, a moment later, the rabble broke
into the lodge. He was seized, carried back to the other prisoners,
and turned over to the torture. We will draw a veil over what now
befell him.

After three days of misery the half-dead Frenchman was brought before
the council of the Mohawk Chiefs. Sachem after sachem rose and spoke,
while tobacco was sacrificed to the fire-god. The question to be
decided was, could the Mohawks afford to offend the great Iroquois
chief who was the French youth’s friend? This chieftain wished to have
the young man’s life spared. Would they do so?

After much talk and passing of the peace-pipe, it was decided that the
young man could go free. The captive’s bonds were cut, he was allowed
to leave the council chamber, and, although unable to walk, was carried
to the lodge of his deliverer. For the second time his life had been

Spring came at last and the young Frenchman was taken on a raid
amidst the enemies of the Iroquois. Then they went on a free-booting
expedition against the whites of the Dutch settlements at Orange
(Albany), which consisted, at that time, of some fifty thatched
log-houses surrounded by the settlements of one hundred and fifty
farmers. The raid was a bloodless one, the red warriors looting the
farmers’ cabins, emptying their cupboards, and drinking up all the beer
in their cellars. Finally they all became intoxicated, and, as they
wanted guns, the Dutch easily took advantage of them in trade.

Radisson had been painted like a Mohawk and was dressed in buckskin.
For the first time in two years he saw white men, and, although he
could not understand the Dutch language, it gave him great pleasure to
see some one of his own race again.

As the white Mohawk moved about the fort, he noticed a soldier among
the Dutch who was a Frenchman, and, at the same instant the soldier
saw, that, beneath all the paint and grease, was a brother. They spoke
to each other, threw their arms around one another’s necks, and from
that moment Radisson became the lion of Fort Orange.

The Dutch people crowded about him, shook his hand, offered him
presents of wine and of money. They wished to ransom him at any price;
but he was pledged to return to his Indian parents and he feared the
revenge of the Mohawk braves. So he had to decline the kind offer of
the white men, returning to his lodge in the Indian country, far more
of a hero in the eyes of his Indian allies than ever before.

Young Pierre had not been back among the Iroquois for more than two
weeks when he began to pine for the log fortress at Three Rivers.
He loathed the filthy food, the smoky lodges, the cruelties of the
Mohawks, and he longed to be once more among his own people. Hidden
beneath all the grease and war paint was the true nature of the white
man, and he determined to escape, even if he had to die for the attempt.

The white Indian left his lodge, early one morning in the month
of September, taking only his hatchet, as if he were going to cut
wood. Once out of sight of the Mohawk village, he broke into a run,
following the trail, through the dense forests of the Mohawk Valley,
towards Fort Orange. On, on, he ran until the morning, when, spent
with fatigue, he fell exhausted to the ground. After a short sleep, he
again arose, pressed forward through the brush, and finally came to a
clearing in the forest where a man was chopping wood. He found that
there were no redskins in the cabin, then, hiding in it, he persuaded
the settler to carry a message to the Fort. While he was absent, he hid
behind some sacks of wheat.

The frontiersman had been gone about an hour, when he returned with a
rescue party, which conducted the young Frenchman to the Fort. Here
he hid for three days, while a mob of Mohawks wandered through the
stockade, calling for him by name, but they could not find him. Gifts
of money from a Jesuit priest enabled him to take a ship to New York,
then a settlement of five hundred houses, with stores, barracks, and a
stone church. After a stay of three weeks the ex-Mohawk set sail for
Amsterdam, where he arrived in January, 1674.

He took a ship for Rochelle, but alas! he there found that all of his
relatives had moved to Three Rivers in New France. Why remain here? In
a week’s time he had embarked with the fishing fleet which yearly left
France for the Great Banks, and came, early in the Spring of 1675, to
Isle Percée, at the mouth of the St. Lawrence. He was a week’s journey
from Three Rivers, but Algonquin canoes were on their way up the blue
St. Lawrence for a fight with the Iroquois. He jumped into one of them,
and, in a very short time, once more sprang ashore at the stockade of
Three Rivers where he was welcomed as one risen from the dead.

Not long after this, we find Radisson at the stockade of Onondaga, a
French fort built upon a hill above a lake upon the Oswego River. Here
the French had established a post, the farthest in the wilderness; and
here about sixty Frenchmen were spending the winter, waiting for the
Spring to break up the ice so that they could return to Quebec. The
redskins seemed to be friendly; but, early in February, vague rumors
of a conspiracy against them came to the ears of the white men. A
dying Mohawk confessed to a Jesuit priest that the Iroquois Council
had decided to massacre half the garrison, and to hold the other half
captive until their own Mohawk hostages were released from Quebec.
These were held there by the French to ensure good treatment of their
own people at this far-distant fortress.

What were the French to do? Here they were, miles and miles from Three
Rivers, surrounded by hostiles, with Winter at hand. How could they
escape? Radisson was quite equal to the emergency and proposed a way to
outwit the savages, which was as cunning as it was amusing. He would
invite all of the braves to a big feast, he would get them stupefied
with food and with drink, then, when all were asleep, the sixty
Frenchmen would take to their boats and would make a break for it down
the river. A bold idea—this. Let us see how it worked out?

Radisson told the redskins that he had had a “big dream,” a dream
to the effect that the white men were to give a great feast to the
Iroquois. They greeted the news with joy, and, as couriers ran through
the forest, bidding the Mohawks to the banquet, the warriors hastened
to the walls of Onondaga. To sharpen their appetites, they were kept
waiting outside for two whole days.

Meanwhile, inside the fort everything was made ready for a hasty
departure. Ammunition was scattered in the snow; guns which could not
be taken along were either burned or broken; canoes were prepared to be
launched; all the live stock, except one solitary pig, a few chickens,
and the dogs, was sacrificed for the feast. The soldiers cooked great
kettles of meat and kept the redskins from peering into the stockade,
lest they discover what was going on.

The evening of the second day arrived, and a great fire was kindled
in the outer inclosure of the fort, between the two walls, where
blankets were spread for the redskinned guests. Now the trumpets blew
a deafening blast, the Mohawks shouted, and the French clapped their
hands wildly. As the outer gates were thrown open, in trooped several
hundred Mohawk warriors, who seated themselves in a circle around the
fire, saying:

“Ugh! Ugh! We much hungry!”

Again the trumpets blared, and twelve enormous kettles of mince-meat
were carried around the circle of guests. All dipped deeply into the
steaming dish, while one Mohawk chieftain arose solemnly, saying:

“The French are the most generous people on earth. The Great Spirit
has indeed blessed the French, to make them so kind to the Mohawks. We
are truly glad to be at the feast with our white brothers.”

Other speakers arose, proclaiming the great virtues of the French; but,
before they had finished talking, there came a second and a third relay
of kettles. Here were plates of salted fowl, of venison, and of bear.
The Indians gorged themselves, each looking at his neighbor to see if
he could still eat.

“Cheer up! Cheer up!” cried Radisson, as he circled among the braves.
“If sleep overcomes you, you must awake! Cheer up! Cheer up! Beat the
drum! Blow the trumpet! Cheer up!”

The eyes of the Indians began to roll, for never before had they had
such a banquet. Some shook their heads and lolled backwards, others
fell over in the dead sleep which comes from long fasting, fresh air
and overfeeding. By midnight all were sprawled upon the ground in deep
slumber. The moment for action was at hand.

The French retired to the inner court, while the main gate was bolted
and chained. The Indians were all outside the French quarters, so they
could not see what was going on inside, even if they had been awake.
Through the loop-hole of the gate ran a rope attached to a bell which
was used to summon the sentry, and to this rope Radisson tied the
only remaining pig, so that, when the Indians would pull the rope for
admission, the noise of the disturbed porker would give the impression
of a sentry’s _tramp, tramp_ on parade. Stuffed soldiers were placed
around the palisades, so that, if an Indian should climb up to look
into the fort, he would still see Frenchmen there.

The baggage was now stowed away in flat boats, and dugouts were
brought out for the rest of the company. The night was raw and cold,
while a thin sheeting of ice had formed upon the margin of the river.
The fugitives were soon on board their craft, had pushed out into
the stream, and were off; while, behind them, the redskins still lay
around in a circle of stupid insensibility. Only the barking of a dog
disturbed the quiet of the evening.

Piloted by the crafty Radisson, the French left Onondago on the 20th.
day of March, 1678. On the evening of April 3d. they came to Montreal,
where they learned that New France had suffered intolerable insolence
from the Iroquois all winter. On the 23d., they moored safely under the
walls of the citadel of Quebec, where all laughed heartily at the good
trick which they had worked upon the bloodthirsty Mohawks.

When Spring came and canoes could venture up the river, couriers
brought word that the Mohawks at Onondago had been greatly deceived
by the pig and the ringing bell. The stuffed figures had led them to
believe that the French were there, for more than a week. Crowing of
cocks had come from the chicken yard, dogs had bayed in the kennels,
and whenever a curious brave had yanked the bell at the gate, he could
hear the measured march of the sentry.

When seven days passed by, and not a white man came from the fort:

“The black robes must be at prayers,” whispered the Mohawks.

But they could not pray on for seven days. Suspicions of trickery
flashed on the minds of the Iroquois, and a warrior climbed to the top
of the palisade. It was empty, and the French had gone!

Two hundred Mohawks immediately set out in pursuit, but there was much
ice and snow, so that they had to return, cursing their stupidity, and
the cleverness of Pierre Radisson.

       *       *       *       *       *

Radisson did more than this, he discovered the Great Northwest.
When a captive among the Mohawks, he had cherished boyish dreams
of discovering many wild nations; and, when his brother-in-law,
Groseillers, asked him to take a journey with him far to the westward,
he only too readily acquiesced. Late one night in June, Groseillers and
he stole out from Three Rivers, accompanied by Algonquin guides. They
went as far as Green Bay, spent the winter there, then, when the Spring
sun warmed the land, they traveled westward, passed across what is now
the State of Wisconsin, and reached a “mighty river rushing profound
and comparable to the St. Lawrence.” It was the upper Mississippi, now
seen for the first time by white men.

The Spring of 1679 found the explorers still among the prairie tribes
of the Mississippi, and from them Radisson learned of the Sioux, a
warlike nation to the West, who had no fixed abode, but lived by the
chase and were at constant war with another tribe to the north, the

The two Frenchmen pressed westward, circled over the territory now
known as Wisconsin, eastern Iowa and Nebraska, South Dakota, and
Montana, and back over North Dakota and Minnesota to the north shore of
Lake Superior.

Then Radisson made a snow-shoe trip towards Hudson’s Bay and back
again, living on moose meat and the flesh of beaver and caribou.
Finally, after adventures exciting and hair-raising, he and Groseillers
found their way to Three Rivers.

Although Radisson was not yet twenty-eight years of age, his
explorations into the Great Northwest had won him both fame and fortune.

So this is the way that he spent his life. Voyaging, trapping, trading,
he covered all this great, wild country, paddled up her rivers, fished
in her lakes, smoked the pipe of peace in her settlements. In ten
years’ time he brought half a million dollars’ worth of furs to an
English trading company which employed him.

Yet, with all his explorations, all his adventures, all his trading, as
he grew old, he remained as poor as one of the _couriers de bois_ who
used to paddle him up the streams of New France. Until the year 1710
he drew an allowance of £50 a year ($250) from the English Hudson Bay
Trading Company, then payments seemed to have stopped. Radisson had
a wife and four children to support, but what happened to him, or to
them, is unknown to history.

Somewhere in the vast country of New France the life of this daring
adventurer went out. And somewhere in that vast possession lies the
body of this, the first white man to explore the Great Northwest.
Oblivion hides all record of his death, and only the cry of the
moose-bird, harsh, discordant—the true call of the wilderness—echoes
over the unknown spot where lie, no doubt, the bones of this trickster
of the Mohawks and explorer of the wastes of New France.

Memorial tablets have been erected in many cities to commemorate La
Salle, Champlain, and other discoverers. Radisson has no monument, save
the memory of a valiant man-of-the-woods, reverently held in the hearts
of all those who love the hemlock forests, the paddle, the pack, and
the magnetic call of the wilderness.




  _The wild goose honked its message of fear,_
  _As it winged away o’er the marshes sere,_
  _And the little brown teal went, “quack, quack, quack,”_
  _it fled from the man all dressed in black._
  _But he, a priest, had a smile on his lips,_
  _For he saw a stream with the sunset kissed,_
  _And he raised aloft his hand, with a cross,_
  _And blessed the waves, which the wild winds toss._




MANY, many years ago, when the Indian tribes inhabited the wilderness
of North America, a good priest came among them to teach them the ways
of Christ. He was a Frenchman called Père, or Father Marquette, and he
had been born at Laon, France, June 1st., 1627.

Early choosing the profession of priesthood, he entered the Jesuit
College at Nancy, where he finally graduated, a man of saintly
character, accurate learning and distinguished culture. Yet, disdaining
to remain in France, he eagerly looked forward to adventure in the
wilderness of North America, and was consequently overjoyed to receive
an order to proceed to Canada, then termed New France. He set sail,
arrived at the struggling village of Quebec, September 20th., 1666,
and, in October of that same year, was sent to Three Rivers, to begin
the study of the Indian language and to obtain some knowledge of the
life of a missionary.

Some of you have doubtless camped in the Canadian wilderness, where
you have seen the Indians, trappers, and guides, who hover around
the outfitter’s store, where one buys his food for a canoe trip into
the woods. The Canadian wilderness, then, was much wilder than it is
now. In those days there were thousands of redskins, where now there
are only a few, and in those days the red men were really ferocious,
often engaging in great battles with each other, and torturing their
prisoners with fire-brands and also making them run the gauntlet.

The French were very kind to the redskins and sent many Jesuit
missionaries among them, so the red men liked the Frenchmen, even
as they disliked the English. The Englishmen treated them like some
inferior sort of dogs, whereas the French priests endeavored to
help them in every way possible; taught them medicine, cooking and
house-building, and looked after them when they were ill.

Father Marquette was accustomed to the refinement and culture of the
France of his day, so it must have been a curious experience for him to
be suddenly thrown into the wilderness life. Yet he settled down to his
career of a missionary with zeal and enthusiasm, taking up a residence
with one Father Drulettes, who lived in a log hut. Here he spent two
years of hard study and still harder life, eagerly learning woodcraft,
canoeing and the Indian language, which was to be of great assistance
to him in later years.

Time passed pleasantly by. Finally it was agreed that young Father
Marquette knew sufficient “Indian talk” to make himself understood by
the redskins, so, in April, 1668, he was sent forth among the Ottawas.
With several others he left Three Rivers for Montreal, traveling by
canoe, and from this small settlement journeyed to the Sault de Sainte
Marie, a trading post built where the waters of Lake Superior rush
tumultuously through boiling rapids towards Lake Huron. Here was the
mission of St. Mary, the headquarters of the Jesuit fathers who labored
among the Ottawa Indians. Here also were many white fur traders, who
wished to barter with the red men.

The Indians were many. The Ottawa tribe consisted of the Chippewas,
Beavers, Creeks, Ottawas, Hurons, Menomonees, Pottawattomies, Sacs,
Foxes, Winnebagoes, Miamis, Illinois and the Sioux. The natives lived
along the shores of Lake Superior, Lake Huron, and through the woods
of Michigan and Wisconsin, near the banks of the many rivers in this

The “Soo” or Sault Ste. Marie is a busy place to-day, and it was a
busy place then, for it was the heart of all Indian activity, being
the place from which all the redskins set out upon their trips to
the wilderness and to Quebec and Montreal. Now the great locks make
continuous travel by water possible between Buffalo and Detroit. In
our times as many ships pass this point as did birch-bark canoes in
the year of 1600. Yet then, there was as much trade and barter at the
“Soo,” in comparison to the Indian and white population, as there is
now, with the vast population which surrounds it.

Father Marquette enjoyed himself greatly among the redskins, and
particularly loved the long canoe trips in the beautiful rivers and
lakes. He was much respected by the Indians, who called him, “the good
brother,” and so successful was he in converting them to Christianity
that he was sent from Mission Sault Ste. Marie to Mission La Pointe,
on Lake Superior, where he arrived in September, 1669. Here he labored
among the peaceful red men until the post was abandoned in 1671,
because the warlike Sioux had determined to fight with the Hurons.

For the poor Hurons to accept the gauge of battle would have meant
their utter destruction, so they fled to the south, taking up their
residence at Michillimackinac, on Lake Huron. Thither went the noble
Father Marquette, and, seated among them in his black robe, took part
in all their many deliberations. He baptized their children, married
their young braves, and taught the gospel of Jesus Christ. Here he
established the Mission St. Ignace and built a beautiful chapel, to
which, years later, worn out and exhausted by his serious labors in the
wilderness, his body was carried by the redskins for burial.

As the good priest lived among the red men, he heard stories of a great
river which lay to the westward, so he determined to discover and
explore it. Wandering trappers brought him news of this stream, and,
as he now knew how to talk with these wild men of the north, he easily
learned all that they could tell him about it. His heart and mind were
stirred with the fever of the adventurer. He _must_, he _would_ go and
see what lay far to the westward where were ferocious redskins, wild
beasts, and unknown water-courses.

As dreams of exploration floated through the pure and boyish mind of
the good Jesuit missionary, a Frenchman, called Joliet, arrived from
Quebec. Ah, but he was a roving dog, this Joliet, and, when he heard
that the priest was contemplating a trip of exploration and adventure,
up went his hands, a smile came to his face, and he exclaimed, “Oh, my
good Father Marquette, I am the man to go with you! I, and I alone,
shall be your companion in this venture into the wilderness. Here’s my
hand upon it!”

So the two adventurers clasped hands, then set about to secure five
stout canoemen with backwoods experience, to paddle with them to the
great unknown. It was not difficult to find such fellows (_couriers de
bois_, they were called).

On May 17th., 1673, Marquette and Joliet, with five as staunch
Frenchmen as ever lifted a pack and poled a canoe, started upon an
ever-memorable journey of exploration. They went in but two canoes—big
birch-bark fellows to be sure—and carried with them guns, clothing,
food, robes, books, and scientific instruments. ’Twas a good load to
stow away in such small bateaux, but they must have been larger canoes
than we use to-day, where only three can comfortably travel. There were
two brave men at the head of this expedition; they loved God; they
loved France, and they strove to do something for God and Fatherland.
They succeeded in both.

From the little mission of St. Ignace the party of explorers followed
the right shore of Lake Michigan in a westerly and southerly direction.
They first stopped at Green Bay, where they visited the tribe of
Menomonees, so called after the wild rice which there grew luxuriously
in the rich mud bottoms and swamplands. The red men were very
hospitable and begged the good priest in his black robe not to proceed
farther. “You will meet a nation which never shows mercy to strangers,”
said one chieftain. “They will break your heads with their stone
hatchets. The great river which you look for is very dangerous. It is
full of horrible monsters which will devour your canoes. There is a big
Demon in the path which swallows all who approach him, and the heat is
so great that you will all die.”

To this the Jesuit missionary replied,

“I do not fear these things, my red brothers. My God is with me and he
will protect me from all these demons.”

So the voyagers bade the doubting redskins good-bye, turned the bows of
their canoes towards the setting sun, and went forth upon their journey.

The paddles drove the light birch-bark boats along the shore of Lake
Michigan. Many times the voyagers gazed at the magnificent scenery with
rapt attention, for they were in the heart of the wilderness, and, as
lovers of nature, they enjoyed the magnificence of wooded shore-line
and wave-tossed water. On, on, they went, passing from Green Bay to the
southern end, and down this into Lake Winnebago: blue, forest-hidden,
and shimmering in the rays of the brilliant sunlight.

At the end of this beautiful sheet of water was an Indian village,
where now is the town of Oshkosh. Here were many redskins, Mascoutens,
Miamis and Kickapoos, some of whom had migrated thither from Virginia
and Ohio. Pere Marquette was greeted hospitably, for many of these
Indians were Christians and had erected a handsome cross in the center
of their town, adorned with skins of the fox and the beaver, with red
belts, bows and arrows, all offerings to the Great Manitou, or God of
all Gods.


The wandering priest conducted religious services, then asked his
hearers for two guides to pilot them to the mighty river, which he
heard was to the westward. Joyfully the red men gave him two Miami
braves, who, leading him to the branches of the upper Fox, showed him
where to take to the land and portage across country to the head-waters
of the _Weskonsing_, now the Wisconsin River. The birch-bark boats
were soon floating past virgin forests, in which robins and cat-birds
caroled songs of welcome to these, the first white men who had ever
sailed past upon the surface of the stream, The Miami guides now
departed and the adventurers went forward alone.

For seven days the paddles drove the shallow canoes down the
slow-moving Wisconsin, and then, upon the morning of the eighth day,
the waters widened and the _couriers de bois_ with their venturesome
man-of-God suddenly paddled into the muddied current of the mighty
_Missi-sepi_, or Great River. It was a point where the Father of Waters
was a mile across and was fifty-three feet deep, so, as Pere Marquette
gazed upon the turbid current, he had “a joy which he could not
express.” For days he had journeyed westward to view the fabled river,
and now he saw that wonderful stream of which the wandering fur traders
and redskins had told him at the far distant mission of St. Ignace.

It was the tenth of June. Marquette had left the quiet mission on May
the seventeenth, nearly a month before this; the journey, so far, had
been pleasant, but what lay beyond? Hostile Indians, fever, treacherous
currents, death in the stream and death upon the shore! Yet, on, on,
went Pere Marquette until he had reached the mouth of the Arkansas.
Here he halted, for he believed that he was within three days’ journey
of the ocean. The good priest was feverish, for the malarial mosquito
hovered over the yellow current of the Mississippi then, even as he
does now. Yet, what cared he? His work had been well done and he had
added much to the glory of France and to the renown of the Jesuit

Again and again, as they descended the stream, the canoes had struck
the backs of monster fish, the sturgeons, which looked and felt like
great tree trunks in the water. The boatmen had landed, every day, and
had shot wild turkeys, ducks and prairie hens. Near the spot where is
now the town of Rock Island, they saw great herds of bison, or buffalo,
and they marveled at their stupidity and their ugliness. Whenever
the explorers landed they kept a strict guard, for fear of an Indian
attack, and as each evening came on, they made a small fire on shore to
cook their meals, then entered the two canoes, paddled into the stream,
and slept as far from the bank as possible.

As the French adventurers came down the mighty Mississippi, there
were, of course, many meetings with the various Indian tribes which
had their homes upon its banks. On the 25th. day of June, they saw the
tracks of men upon the water’s edge and a narrow, beaten path across
the prairie. “It must be a road leading to a village,” said Marquette;
“we will reconnoiter it and see what is there!”

Recommending themselves to God, Marquette and Joliet undertook to
investigate, and silently followed the narrow path. They walked onward
for about two miles and then heard voices. Before them was an Indian
village. They halted, and then advanced, shouted with all their energy.
The redskins swarmed from their huts, much excited, but, seeing the
Black Robes, of whom the traveling Hurons had told them, they quieted
down, sending four of their old men to meet the white voyagers.

As the Indians approached, they bore, in their hands, tobacco pipes,
finely ornamented and adorned with various feathers. They walked
slowly, with the pipes raised to the sun and said nothing at all. These
were calumets, or peace pipes, which they carried. As Marquette and
Joliet walked towards the village, with an Indian on either side, they
saw before them an old man standing before a lodge, with his hands
outstretched and raised towards the sun. Looking intently at the priest
and his companion, he said:

“How beautiful is the sun, O Frenchmen, when you come to visit us! All
our town awaits thee, and thou shalt enter all our cabins of peace.
Welcome to the land of the Illinois. Welcome, thrice welcome!”

The visitors entered the cabin, where was a crowd of red men, who kept
silence, but eagerly gazed upon the strangers. Finally several spoke,

“Well done, brothers, to visit us!”

Now all sat down, the peace pipe was passed around, they smoked, and
then conversed in sign-language. But soon messengers arrived from the
Grand Sachem of the Illinois, inviting the Frenchmen to visit his town,
where he wished to hold a council with them.

So the seven explorers started for the village of the Grand Sachem,
attended by a vast crowd of red men, who, never having seen a Frenchman
before, could not apparently see enough of them. At length they reached
the lodge of the Grand Sachem, who stood in his doorway holding his
calumet, or peace pipe, towards the sun.

“Welcome, my white brothers,” said he. “Welcome to the land of the

Marquette stepped forward, and, presenting the old man with four
separate gifts of beads and of knives, said:

“With this first gift, O Sachem, do I march in peace to visit the
nations on the great river, which courses to the sea. With this second,
I declare that God, the mighty creator, has pity on you, and it is
for you to acknowledge and obey him. With this third, I declare that
the Great Chief of the French informs you that he has spread peace
everywhere, and has overcome the Iroquois, the enemies of you all, and
has put them down forever. With this fourth I beg you to tell me the
way to the sea, so that I can reach it without having trouble with the
nations which I must pass in order to reach it.”

This speech pleased the Great Sachem mightily, and rising, he laid his
hand upon a small Indian child, saying:

“I thank thee, Black Gown and thee, Frenchmen, for taking so much pains
to come and visit us. Never has the earth been so lovely nor the sun
so bright as to-day. Never has our river been so calm or so free from
rocks, for your canoes have removed them as they passed. Never has our
tobacco had so fine a flavor, nor our corn appeared so beautiful as we
behold it to-day. Here is my son that I give thee, so that thou mayest
know my heart. I pray thee to take pity on me and all my nation. Thou
knowest the Great Spirit who has made us all, then speak thou to him
and hear thou his words; ask thou him to give me life and health, and
to come and dwell amongst us, that we may know him.”

Saying this, he gave the little Indian boy to Marquette and then
presented him with a calumet, or peace pipe. He then urged the
Frenchmen to proceed no farther and not to expose themselves to the
dangers that would meet them with hostile tribes:

“I would esteem it a great happiness to lose my life for the glory of
Jesus Christ,—he who has made us all,” replied Marquette.

The old Sachem marveled much at this answer.

After several days of pleasant intercourse with the Illinois, the
voyagers again took to their canoes and sailed southward towards the
mouth of the Mississippi. Marquette left the little Indian boy behind
him, for he did not wish to take him from his father. They had not gone
very far, when they passed a rocky promontory where two great monsters
had been painted upon the brown stones by some Indian artist.

“They are as large as a calf,” says Marquette in his diary. “They have
horns on their heads like those of a deer, a horrible look, red eyes, a
beard like a tiger, a face somewhat like a man’s, a body covered with
scales, and so long a tail that it winds all around the body, passing
above the head and going back between the legs, ending somewhat like
a fish’s tail. Green, red, and black are the colors composing this

Fortunately there were no monsters in the country similar to these
awful pictures, and the worst that the explorers encountered were
dangerous masses of fallen trees, through which the canoes had a
difficult time to wend a tortuous passage.

Near the mouth of the Ohio River the Frenchmen passed a part of the
shore much dreaded by the redskins, who thought that an evil Manitou
lived there, who devoured all travelers. The Illinois had warned the
good priest to avoid the place. Yet the evil monster turned out to
be a small bay full of dangerous rocks, through which the current of
the river whirled about with a furious commotion, driving the canoes
through a narrow channel filled with frothing spray and whirling spume.
The _couriers de bois_ sat tight, paddled hard, and pulled away from
this peril.

Yet death soon stared the navigators in the face, for, when they
reached the mouth of the Arkansas, armed warriors saw them, plunged
into the river, and approached the two canoes, uttering fierce battle
cries. Others came from the bank in wooden boats, hurling wooden clubs
at the Frenchmen. Many redskins on the shore seized bows and arrows,
pointing them at the explorers in a menacing manner. It was certainly a
ticklish position and one that called for all the presence of mind that
brave Pere Marquette possessed.

Rising in his canoe, the good priest held up the calumet, or peace
pipe, which the Illinois had given him.

It apparently had no effect on the young braves, and they came swimming
along, knives held in their teeth, ready and eager for a hand-to-hand
battle in the muddy water.

Again the good priest raised the pipe of peace.

This time it had some effect, for some old men on the bank called to
the young braves to desist in their attack, saying:

“Brothers, our young men shall not hurt you. Come ashore and we will
have a big feast. Ugh! Ugh! You are welcome here.”

So the voyagers heaved sighs of relief, paddled ashore, and had a grand
banquet. Next day, ten of the men of this tribe guided them farther
down the stream, and introduced them to the next tribe, which lived
opposite the mouth of the Arkansas River.

They seemed to like good eating as well as do the natives of Arkansas
in our day, for they had a noble banquet at which was served boiled
dog, roast corn, and watermelon.

As I have said before, Father Marquette was suffering much with fever.
As for his companions, they wished to return, for, said one: “If we go
farther south, some Spaniards will capture us, or we will be killed by
fiercer Indians than we have yet met with.”

So they started to ascend the muddy river, toiling terribly against
the current, but ever watchful of a night attack, and careful to sleep
in the canoes, well away from the bank. Yet on, on, they went towards
the north until the mouth of the river Illinois was reached. Into this
they turned, paddled to its source, portaged into gray Lake Michigan,
and soon were homeward bound for the busy post of Sault Ste. Marie.
Marquette was quite ill with the fever and worn out with the exertion
of the long journey, so at Green Bay he remained at the Jesuit mission
of St. Francis Xavier, established there some years before. Joliet, on
the other hand—apparently an iron man—was feeling splendidly. He had
traveled only 2,767 miles in a birch canoe and was as well and hearty
as when he had started. A true athlete, this Joliet, and one who must
have had muscles of steel!

It was now September, and the explorers had been away for five months.
It was also the time of stress and of storm on the Great Lakes,
so it was thought best to pass the winter quietly at the little
mission, there to write up the report of this wonderful journey. Both
adventurers, therefore, sat down to rest, busying themselves in editing
their journals. Marquette’s alone has been preserved; as for Joliet’s,
his was upset in his canoe, when returning to Quebec in the following
Spring, and all of his papers were lost in the frothing current of the
raging La Chine rapids of the Ottawa River, near Montreal. Marquette’s
account, with maps drawn from memory, reached his superiors in the
Jesuit mission at Quebec, and they are to-day of great interest to
historians, geographers, and antiquarians.

On the way to Green Bay, the good priest had promised the Illinois
Indians that he would return to them in the Spring, in order to preach
the gospel. Although much shattered in health, because of the fever
which had fastened itself upon him, he again started south in October,
1674. Dismissing his great accomplishment from his mind, again he
turned to teach the savages the words of Christ. Reaching the Chicago
River, he found it covered with ice, so he remained at a poor log
cabin, near the shore of Lake Michigan. He was ill, but brave, and,
when the warm breath of Spring again brought tassels to the willows,
this noble priest of God pushed southward to the country of the
friendly Illinois.

The redskins loved the peaceful soldier of the cross and welcomed him,
“as an angel from Heaven.” Easter time soon came, and a great service
was held for the red men and their wives and children. First the
priest presented the chiefs with gifts of wampum to attest his love
and the importance of his mission, then he explained the doctrine of
Christianity and his reason for journeying to this wild and distant
land. “I cannot stay longer,” he said, in conclusion, “but the peace of
God be with you.”

The children of the forest listened to him with great joy and
appreciation, and, at the conclusion of his address, begged him to
return to them again. They escorted him to his canoe with great pomp
and ceremony, many of the warriors accompanying him for thirty miles.
Then they waved “good-bye” saying: “Come again to us, good father, for
we love you right well. Come again, for you are truly a brother of the
Great Spirit.”

Alas! the good priest’s strength now began to fail him and he became
so ill and weak that he had to be carried by his faithful attendants.
The season was stormy, and, as the Frenchmen paddled northward
towards Green Bay, they had to wait in the land-locked harbors of the
St. Joseph River, the Kalamazoo, the Grand, and the Muskegon. The
white-caps raged on Lake Michigan, so that it was not safe for the
frail birch-bark canoe to venture upon the tossing waves.

Poor Father Marquette! your journeys are almost over! Ill, weak,
exhausted, the gentle priest had to be carried upon the shoulders of
his faithful _couriers de bois_.

“Take me to the shore,” he said, weakly. “Build me a cabin and let me
there give up my soul to Christ. I cannot live much longer and it is
well. God’s will be done.”

Near the present city of Ludington, upon a plot of rising ground, the
expiring Marquette selected a place to die. His companions made a rude,
log cabin, laid him upon a bed of evergreens, over which were stretched
his blankets, and, as the white-breasted woodthrush sang a soft cadence
from the branch of the wild apple tree, the gentle soul of the explorer
and Jesuit Missionary went to the Great Beyond. His rough boatmen
clustered about him with tears in their eyes, and they have said that,
as the noble man-of-God awaited Death, his countenance beamed and was
aglow with the spark of a curious and brilliant radiance.

Spring came. Some Huron Indians, whom Marquette had instructed at
his mission at La Pointe, heard of his death and burial as they were
returning from a hunt in the vast woods of northern Michigan. They
sought the grave of this good man, whom they had so tenderly loved.
With reverent hands they removed him from his forest sepulchre, carried
him to their canoe, and started back to the little chapel which he had
built at St. Ignace.

Thirty canoes formed a funeral procession which passed along the Great
Lakes for nearly two hundred and fifty miles. When the mission was
reached, the cortége approached the land, where a vast concourse of
Indians, trappers, soldiers, priests, and half-breeds, paid reverence
to this sweet-souled Jesuit missionary. Here, in the little church, he
was laid to rest, and here, in 1877, a splendid monument was erected
to the memory of that noble Christian gentleman, who had floated
down the turbid current of the Mississippi in a memorable journey of
exploration. _Pax vobiscum, Pere Marquette!_


  Lift him gently, redskinned brothers, let no voice disturb his rest,
  Peace is here, the great blue heron wings his way from out the West.
  The tiny wren is gently trilling; the swallow dips and darts around,
  As the veery carols sweetly: “True! His equal ne’er’ll be found.”

  Softly, softly, tread so lightly, to the border of the lake;
  Bow your heads and keep the silence, as the bending branches shake.
  Place him in the birch barque’s bottom, cover him with blankets fine,
  Paddle gently, oh, so gently, as the wind sobs through the pine.

  Yea! the wind speaks, and it whispers, as the cortége wanders past,
  “Marquette! Marquette! Son of Jesus! You have reached the land of
  In the Kingdom of the Blessed, in the Vale of shadows dim,
  Marquette! Marquette! Son of Jesus! You will rest at last with Him.”

  And the wild goose—Old Shebogah—honks a pæan from the sky,
  Saying: “Farewell, farewell, brother, would that I, myself could die,
  So that I could wander with you through the vale of shadowy tears,
  Would that I could traverse with you, through the mist of golden

  And the squirrel—little Ooquah—chatters shrilly from the glade;
  “Farewell! Farewell! Father, when you are gone I’ll be afraid.
  Yea, I’ll hide from men and maidens, for my friend has passed away,
  Farewell! Farewell! Father! Sad the scene and sad the day!”

  And the beaver, sleek and square-tailed, casts his brown eyes on the
  Sobbing, mutt’ring; “Farewell! Father! All my kin obeisance make.
  You, a good man, never harmed us; you, a brave man, never killed;
  Farewell! Farewell! Father! Man of God in kindness skilled.”

  And the blue jay—bad Mootsito—scolding cries out from the oak,
  “Good night! Good night! Father! Would that I could be your cloak,
  Would that I could travel with you, would that I could shield from
  Good night! Farewell! Father! The woods are cold. They’ve lost their

  Gently! Gently! Paddling northward, past the shallow pebbled bays,
  See the cortége wanders slowly, near the scenes of other days,
  When the good priest taught the Hurons how to live in peace and love,
  Taught them how to like each other, true to Him who is above.

  So they journey, while the forest echoes with the psalm of Death,
  So they journey, sad and lonely, ’midst the balsam’s balmy breath.
  Then, at last, they reach the Mission, here sad rites they chant for
  Who has led them gently onward, through the glades of ignorance dim.

  Trappers, soldiers, priests and redskins, bare their heads at
      St. Ignace,
  Weeping, sobbing, bid him “Farewell!” he, the leader of their race.
  Weeping, sobbing, cry out: “_Vale!_” While the heron wings away,
  Croaking: “Good night, good night, Father! Sad the scene and sad the




  _From Tadoussac the eagles scream; their wild cries sound alarming,_
  _As up the stream a vessel sails, her steersman a Prince Charming._
  _A man of iron—valiant, strong, his name the Sieur La Salle,_
  _Who loved the hemlock forests from Lachine to Roberval._
  _Alas! he ventured to the West where redskins wish to kill,_
  _There left his bones—’neath barren stones—where Frenchmen wander




WHILE good Father Marquette was gliding over the muddied waters of
the Mississippi, gazing at wonderful sights which no Frenchman had
dreamed of heretofore, a man lived upon the banks of the St. Lawrence
who brooded over projects of peril and adventure and gazed wistfully
towards the Far West. This was no other than Robert, Chevalier de La
Salle, a Frenchman who had come to Canada about the year 1667. He had
been born at Rouen, in Normandy, of a noble family, and had been well
educated in a Jesuit seminary.

Urged onward by a desire for both adventure and money, this vigorous
young blade emigrated to Canada. Here he traveled up and down the great
river St. Lawrence from Tadoussac to Sault Ste. Marie, and busied
himself in trading European merchandise for beaver, bear, and other
skins. He built houses for the storage of furs and merchandise, made
excursions among the Indian tribes bordering on the shore of Lake
Ontario, and penetrated as far as the Huron country in the north, where
he lived for some time among the redskins, learning their life, their
manners, and their language.

Perhaps some of you have taken the steamer at Toronto, have threaded
your way among the beautiful Thousand Isles, and have shot through
the foaming spray of the Lachine rapids, before reaching the city of
Montreal. This seething cataract was named by the adventurous La Salle,
for he hoped to find the St. Lawrence leading into the China Sea, and,
to commemorate this anticipation, called the trading station, upon the
Island of Montreal—La Chine (or the China) a name which has fastened
itself to the rapids, and a name which it has borne to the present day.

Here the adventurous Frenchman was resting when word was brought to him
of the expedition of Marquette and Joliet. He felt certain that the
Mississippi discharged itself into the great Gulf of Mexico, a fact
which inflamed his desire to complete the discovery of that mighty
watercourse. He wished to found colonies upon its banks and to open up
new avenues of trade between France and the vast countries of the West.
Nor did he lose his visions of China and Japan. From the head-waters
of the Mississippi, he still hoped to find a passage to those distant
countries, and thus, stirred with ideas of conquest and glory for his
beloved France, he made a voyage to his native shores towards the end
of the year 1677, hoping to gain assistance from the King for his
ambitious designs.

The French monarch gave a ready ear to the talk of the venturesome
Canadian. He was authorized to push his discoveries as far as he
chose to the westward, and to build forts wherever he should think
proper. In order to meet the large expense of his labors he was given
the exclusive traffic in buffalo skins. Yet he was also forbidden to
trade with the Hurons and other Indians, who usually brought furs to
Montreal, for fear that he would interfere with the established traders
and incur their jealousy and displeasure.

La Salle had the true love of adventure, a passion for exploring
unknown lands, and an ambition to build up a great name for himself
which should rival that of the early discoverers and conquerors of
the New World. He wished, in fact, to die great. Let us see how he

Two months after receiving this patent, the adventurer sailed from the
shores of France, accompanied by the Chevalier Tonty, the Sieur de
La Motte, and a pilot, ship-carpenters, mariners and other persons,
about thirty in all. He had also a quantity of arms and ammunition,
with a store of anchors, cordage, and other materials necessary for
rigging the small vessels which he had determined to construct for the
navigation of the lakes.

He arrived at Quebec near the end of September; but here he remained
no longer than was necessary to arrange his affairs, for he hastened
forward, passed up the dangerous rapids of the St. Lawrence in canoes,
and at length reached Fort Frontenac, which he had erected at the
eastern extremity of Lake Ontario, where the St. Lawrence issues from
that great, blue inland sea.

La Salle was eager for exploration. Busily he prepared to build and
equip a vessel above the Falls of Niagara, so that he could navigate
the upper lakes. His men worked hard and had, before long, fitted out
a brigantine of ten tons in which they stowed away everything needed
for the construction of a second vessel. This barque had been made
at Fort Frontenac, the year before, with two others, which were used
for bringing supplies. It was a small boat, but was suitable for the

In order to have any success in building a fort and a ship on the
waters of the Niagara River, it was necessary to have the good will of
the red men who lived in the surrounding country. The Senecas here had
their hunting grounds, and they were a powerful tribe, excellent in the
hunting field, bloodthirsty on the field of war. So La Motte had orders
from La Salle to go on an embassy to this nation, to hold a council
with the chiefs, explain his object, and gain their consent.

With some well-armed men, La Motte consequently traveled about thirty
miles through the woods, and came, at length, to the great village of
these redskins. Before a roaring council fire, around which the Indians
gathered with their usual grave and serious countenances, both white
men and red delivered many speeches. The French promised to establish
a blacksmith at Niagara, who should repair the guns of the red men,
and, as a result of this guarantee, the Senecas gave them permission to
establish a trading place and fort in the wilderness. Well satisfied
with the mission, La Motte and his companions went back to Niagara.

La Salle soon arrived, sailing thither from Fort Frontenac in one
of his small vessels, laden with provisions, with merchandise, and
materials for rigging the new ship: the first to glide over the waves
of these great western lakes. In person he visited the Seneca Indians,
and, by soft speech and flattering words, secured their friendship and

Yet he had enemies, too, for the monopoly which he had gained from the
government and the large scale upon which he conducted his affairs,
raised, against him, a host of traducers among the traders and
merchants of Canada. In order to thwart his designs, they told the
Indians that his plans of building forts and ships on the border was in
order to curb their power. Agents were sent among the redskins in order
to sow the seeds of hostility to this ambitious Frenchman.

These moves against him were well known to La Salle, yet it did not
put an end to his plans. About two miles above the Falls of Niagara,
he selected a place for a dock-yard at the outlet of a creek, on the
western side of the Niagara River. Here the keel of the new vessel was
laid, and, in a very short time, her form began to appear. An Indian
woman brought word that a plot had been hatched to burn the vessel,
while it was on the stocks, yet the redskins did not molest it, and
soon she proudly glided into the water. She was called the _Griffin_,
in honor of the Count de Frontenac, who had two griffins upon his coat
of arms.

It was the month of August, a time of softness and mellow sunlight
in the Canadian wilderness, when, bathed in a flood of radiance,
the sails of the _Griffin_ were spread to the winds of Lake Erie.
Heretofore, only birch-bark canoes had floated upon the surface of
this wind-tossed sheet of water, now a real vessel was plowing a
westward course over the rocking billows. The voyage was a prosperous
one, and, on the 27th. day of August, the little company of explorers,
thirty-four in all, reached the Island of Mackinac, where the
redskinned denizens of the forest looked with wonder and amazement upon
this ship, the first which they had ever seen, calling her the _great
wooden canoe_.

The Sieur de La Salle dressed himself in a scarlet cloak, in order to
make an impression upon the redskins, and, attended by some of his
soldiers, made a visit of ceremony to the head men of the village.
Here his missionaries celebrated mass, and here he was received and
entertained with much civility by the red men. Yet, although the
redskins showed him much courtesy on the surface, their minds had
been poisoned by the lies which had been circulated among them by his
enemies, and for the same reason several of his followers had deserted.
Not deterred by this happening, La Salle again entered his ship,
hoisted sail, and soon was coasting along the northern borders of Lake

After a voyage of about a hundred miles the _Griffin_ reached Green
Bay, where anchor was cast before a small island at its mouth. This
island was inhabited by Pottawattomies, and here La Salle found several
Frenchmen, who had preceded him in birch canoes, had gathered a supply
of stores, and had also collected a vast quantity of furs. With these
he loaded his vessel; sent it back to Niagara, for the purpose of
satisfying his creditors; and ordered his navigators to return as soon
as possible, and to pursue their voyage to the mouth of the Miami River
at the south-eastern extremity of Lake Michigan.

The adventurers now remaining consisting of fourteen persons, who were
soon paddling down the west shore of Lake Michigan in four bark canoes,
laden with carpenters’ tools, a blacksmith’s forge, merchandise, and
arms. After a stormy passage, they reached the mouth of the Miami
River, since called the St. Joseph. Winter was approaching, hostile
natives were near, so La Salle determined to build a fort. A hill was
selected as the proper position for the stockade, the bushes were
chopped down and logs were cut and hewn, so that a breastwork could be
constructed, inclosing a space about eighty feet long, by forty broad.
It was surrounded by palisades and was called Fort Miami.

All hands were thus kept busy during the month of November. In spite of
this occupation, the men were very discontented, for they had no other
food but the flesh of bears, which some Indian hunters killed in the
woods. The Frenchmen did not like this, and wished to go into the woods
in order to hunt deer and other game. This permission was refused by
La Salle, as he saw that they were more bent upon desertion than upon
assisting in improving the larder.

As they thus grumbled and worked at the edge of the wilderness, the
Chevalier de Tonty came down the lake with two canoes well stocked with
deer which he had recently killed. Hurrah! Here was a different kind
of meat, at last, and this cheered the spirits of all the company. Yet
there was bad news, also, for the good Chevalier brought word of the
total loss of the ship which had brought them hither. No sight had ever
been had of her, and, although the red men, who lived along the shores
of Lake Michigan were closely questioned, no one brought any word of
the ill-fated _Griffin_, which doubtless had been swallowed up by the
waves of Lake Michigan, while on her way from the island of Mackinac.
La Salle was much distressed, yet he had become accustomed to the
buffeting of ill fortune in the wilderness, and, consequently turned
again towards the wilderness with renewed courage and resolution to go
onward, to explore, and to bring back news of these virgin forests and
this interesting country.

An Indian hunter, who had been sent out to look for deer, came and
told them where there was a portage to the head-waters of the Kankakee
River. So, desirous of moving onward, they followed him down stream
and paddled for a hundred miles on the muddy waters, which wound
through marshes and a dense growth of tall rushes and alder bushes. The
adventurers became much in need of provisions, for at this season the
buffalo had traveled south; yet, they succeeded in killing two deer,
several wild turkeys, and a few swans. Providence also came to their
relief, for a stray buffalo was found sticking fast in a marsh, and it
was therefore captured with ease.

At length the canoes floated upon the waters of the Illinois River,
and, as they paddled onward, the voyagers came upon an Indian village
where were great quantities of corn. The inhabitants had departed upon
a hunt, so the ravenous Frenchmen appropriated a large store of grain
for their own use. They kept on their way, reached a great lake, called
Lake Peoria, and found a second Indian village upon the bank, the
inhabitants of which met them with great friendliness and good will.

Here La Salle decided to build a fort. It was named Fort Crèvecœur,
or the Broken Heart, so called because of the sadness which he had
experienced at the loss of the good ship _Griffin_. The men also
constructed a brigantine, forty-two feet long and twelve feet broad, in
which it was hoped to make further discoveries in the Mississippi. When
it had been completed, a priest, called Father Hennepin, was sent down
the Illinois River to make further explorations, not in this boat, but
in a canoe, accompanied by two Frenchmen and an Indian; while La Salle,
himself, determined to begin an overland journey to Fort Frontenac,
assisted by three Frenchmen and an Indian hunter. The Chevalier de
Tonty was left in command of the fort, with sixteen men and two

La Salle had quite an undertaking before him, but he did not quail. He
was to travel over land, and on foot, through vast forests and through
bogs and morasses, to Fort Frontenac, a distance of twelve hundred
miles. He had to journey along the southern shores of Lake Erie and
Lake Ontario, ford numerous rivers and cross others on rafts, all of
this in a season when snow hid the ground and floating ice rendered
traveling most fatiguing. Nothing seemed impossible to his strong heart
and unbending resolution. Shouldering his knapsack and musket, he bade
adieu to his companions of the wilderness, and set his face towards far
distant Canada.

No record has been preserved of the incidents of his long and perilous
journey from the slow-moving Illinois to the blue and sparkling St.
Lawrence. At any rate, he arrived without mishap at Fort Frontenac,
where he was chagrined and mortified to find his affairs in a condition
of confusion that was deplorable. His heaviest loss, of course, was
that of the _Griffin_, with her cargo valued at twelve thousand
dollars; but, besides this mishap, he found that his agents had
despoiled him of all the profits of his trade. Some of his employees,
in fact, had stolen his goods and had run away with them to the Dutch
of New York. A rumor had been circulated to the effect that he and
his whole party had been drowned on their voyage up the lakes, so his
creditors had seized upon his effects, and had wasted them by forced
sales. All Canada seemed to have conspired against him. Many a less
resolute heart than his own would have failed, but despair was never
known to settle upon the mind of the Chevalier La Salle. He was the
first Theodore Roosevelt of the United States.

The adventurer had still one friend left,—Count Frontenac, whose
influence and authority was now exerted in his favor. They discussed
together the Mississippi problem and determined to give up the plan
of navigating this mighty water-course in a ship. Instead, La Salle
decided to prosecute his explorations with canoes.

He engaged more men, left Fort Frontenac on the 23d. day of July, 1680,
and, although detained by head winds on Lake Ontario, reached Mackinac
during the month of September. By offering brandy in exchange for
Indian corn, he soon had enough to satisfy his needs, and, embarking on
the rough waters of Lake Michigan, at length arrived at the mouth of
the river Miami. The fort which he had left there had been plundered
and dismantled!

Journeying south, La Salle reached the villages of the Illinois,
which he found had been sacked and burned by the Iroquois during his
absence. He saw nothing of Tonty and those Frenchmen whom he had left
behind him, a proof that they had either been killed or dispersed. So
he returned to the Miami River and here spent the winter, visiting the
Indian tribes near Lake Michigan. Here he learned that the Iroquois
had attacked the settlements of the Illinois with vindictive ferocity,
during his absence, driving the red men far westward across the
Mississippi. As for the Frenchmen, whom he had left behind him, no one
seemed to know what had become of them.

Towards the end of May, 1681, the vigorous explorer left the Miami
River, and, after a prosperous voyage, once more entered the harbor of
Mackinac. What was his joy to here find the Chevalier Tonty and those
Frenchmen, whom he had last seen in the wilderness. They had passed
through great dangers, but had at length escaped from the bloodthirsty
Iroquois and had reached the French fortress, lean, haggard, but
praising God that they had escaped with their lives. La Salle embraced
them all, gave them presents of firearms and blankets, and begged them
to accompany him again into the wilderness.

The Chevalier was now determined to journey down the entire length of
the Mississippi, and, with this end in view, took into his service
a company of Frenchmen, together with a number of eastern Indians,
Abenakis, and Loups, or Mahingans, as they were called by the French
writers. Putting Fort Frontenac in command of the Sieur de La Forest,
he journeyed by canoe to Niagara, where a stockade had recently been
built, called Fort de Tonty, and thence embarked with his entire
company in canoes for the Miami River, which he reached in safety. Six
weeks were now spent in making arrangements for the great trip down the

There were twenty-three Frenchmen in the party, eighteen savages, ten
Indian women, and three children. The redskins insisted on taking these
women with them to prepare their food, according to their custom, while
they were fishing and hunting. When all was ready the adventurers
started for the mouth of the Chicago River, which was found to be

Undaunted, the explorers passed down the water-course on sleds, down
the Illinois to Lake Peoria, and thence to the muddy waters of the
Mississippi. They had a peaceful passage southward, hunting much and
fishing in the stream, and eventually arrived at the Chickasaw Bluffs.
Here redskins were met with, who gave them kind treatment, and, pushing
on, the little party soon arrived at a mighty village of the Arkansas

[Illustration: _Copyright, 1903, by The Singer Manufacturing Company,
and used through the courtesy of the copyright owners._


These redskins were a frank and open-hearted people of gentle manners,
and very hospitable. The Sieur de La Salle was treated with marked
deference and respect. He took possession of the country in the name
of the King of France, erected a cross, and adorned it with the arms
of his native country. This was done with great pomp and ceremony, the
savages believing that it was a ritual for their amusement. Two weeks
were pleasantly spent among the red men and then the voyagers kept on
their way.

The journey to the mouth of the mighty water-course was easy and
pleasant. Many Indian tribes were met with, but no battles occurred.
Finally, on the 6th. day of April, the river was observed to divide
itself into three channels, so the Sieur de La Salle separated his
company into three divisions and, putting himself at the head of one of
them, he took the western channel, the Chevalier de Tonty the middle,
and the Sieur Dautray the eastern. The water soon became brackish,
then salt, until, at last, the broad ocean opened up before them. La
Salle encamped for the night about twelve miles above the mouth of
the western branch, and the next day he and Tonty examined the shores
bordering on the sea in order to ascertain the depth of the waters in
the two principal channels. The day following was employed in searching
for a dry place, removed from the tide and the inundation of the
rivers, on which to erect a column and a cross. Next day this ceremony
was performed.

All the Frenchmen were drawn up under arms, while a column was erected
with this inscription:

“_Louis the Great, King of France and Navarre, reigns; the 9th. of
April, 1682._”

The _Te Deum_ was now chanted and the soldiers discharged their muskets
with shouts of _Long Live the King!_ La Salle then made a formal
speech, taking possession of the whole country of Louisiana for the
French King, the nations and people contained therein, the seas and
harbors adjacent, and all the streams flowing into the Mississippi,
which he called the great river St. Louis. A leaden plate was then
buried at the foot of a tree, with a Latin inscription, containing the
arms of France and the date, and stating that La Salle, Tonty, Lenobe,
and twenty Frenchmen were the first to navigate the river from the
Illinois to its mouth. The cross was then erected with appropriate
ceremonies. At the same time an account of these proceedings was drawn
up, in the form of a Proces Verbal, certified by a Notary and signed by
thirteen of the principal persons of the expedition.

La Salle felt happy, for he had seen, he had come, he had conquered!

Although the journey up the Mississippi was without danger, La Salle,
when he reached the upper courses, was seized with a dangerous illness
which made it impossible for him to go forward for forty days. The
Chevalier de Tonty was dispatched to Mackinac in order to inform the
Count de Frontenac of the particulars of the voyage, and then, by slow
stages, La Salle reached the Miami River, where he arrived by the end
of September.

Tonty was faithful and accurate in executing his orders, so faithful
that, shortly afterwards, when La Salle was well enough to sail for
France, he left him in charge of all his interests during his absence.

The explorer met with a favorable reception in the old world, and it
was decided that an expedition should be fitted out, for which the
Government should provide vessels, troops, munitions, and such other
supplies as were wanted: the whole to be under his command. He was
authorized to establish colonies in Louisiana, and to take command of
the immense country and all of its inhabitants from Lake Michigan to
the borders of Mexico. He was given four vessels and was furnished with
two hundred and eighty men.

Certainly his own government thought well of him, even if other people
did not, so he and his men started for the Gulf of Mexico, determined
to there found a colony which would perpetuate the name of France for
all time in the Western Hemisphere.

The history of this expedition is an unfortunate one. In four vessels
the adventurers crossed the ocean, intending to land at the mouth of
the Mississippi. There were about two hundred and eighty persons in
all, including many missionaries and soldiers, the latter being an
assemblage of vagabonds and beggars from the streets, some of whom had
never handled a musket. The vessels touched at the island of Santo
Domingo, then crossed over into the Gulf of Mexico, heading, as all
thought, for the mouth of the Mississippi. But such was not the case,
and the explorers touched land near the borders of Mexico, at the
Magdalen River, where the soil was barren and sandy, and where there
was little game.

At different times, parties landed, hunted the wild buffalo, and
explored the flat and somewhat desolate country. They constructed a
fort with the timbers and planks of one of their ships, which floated
ashore after the vessel went to pieces, and also with drift wood from
the beach. After this was done, the Sieur de La Salle, taking fifty men
with him, set out on a tour of discovery, finding a flat game-filled
country and a noble river which he called the Vaches, because of the
great numbers of wild cows, or buffaloes, seen upon its banks. This
name it still retains.

After a journey of considerable length, the Chevalier returned, built
a new fort, and then set out upon another journey of discovery. Many
of his men died of exposure and rattlesnake bites, but this never
disturbed the even calm of his manner. He pressed on, found the great
Colorado River, and crossed it, penetrating into the wilderness for
many miles. After an absence of more than four months, La Salle was
again received with joy by the colonists at the fort. His men were
ragged in dress, some without hats, and all were haggard and worn by

The Indians had always shown themselves to be hostile and had murdered
several of the French explorers when they had strayed away from their
companies. Of the four vessels which had brought over the expedition,
three had returned, and the last, the _la Belle_, had been destroyed
by a storm. The Sieur de La Salle was thus cut off from all supplies
in a new country, two thousand miles from any civilized settlement to
which he could look for succor, and surrounded on every side by hostile
savages. It is no wonder that many of his followers were dissatisfied
and miserably unhappy, some even plotted to kill their great and
gallant leader.

Of the many expeditions which I have taken into the wilderness, with
parties of men, none has ever been tranquil throughout. There is
always some evil dispositioned fellow along, who raises a disturbance,
makes others unhappy, and, by his surly manner, creates uneasiness and
distrust, so that all are happy when the settlements have been reached
and the malcontents have been allowed to go their ways in peace.
So it was here. There were several Frenchmen of a jealous and mean
disposition, who, feeling ill-humored because of their hardships in the
wilderness, felt it their duty to murder the only true man among them
all: the valiant leader. It was easy to succeed in their evil design.

Somewhere on the Mississippi River was the Chevalier Tonty, the
staunch friend and companion of La Salle, and a man who was as brave
and as valiant as this courageous Frenchman. Why not go in search
of him? The proposition was a good one, and La Salle determined to
take only the bravest and the strongest; to travel eastward; to reach
the Mississippi, and to there find, if possible, his brave and noble

This was a wonderful trip. The valiant Frenchman and his companions
crossed unknown rivers, broad prairies, and flat plateaus. A crocodile
seized one of the soldiers by the leg and dragged him to destruction,
in one instance; in another, several of the French adventurers were
badly gored by buffalo.

La Salle finally reached the land of the Cencis Indians, the future
home of many a Daniel Boone, a perfect paradise for the sportsman and
a land of noble rivers, beautiful valleys, and much wild game. He was
charmed with it, he reveled in its scenery, its beautiful valleys,
its wonderful water courses, yet, here it was that he was to meet his
end, an event as sad and tragic as any of the great events of American

On the 15th. day of March, 1687, the adventurers came to a place where
the Sieur de La Salle had buried a quantity of Indian corn and beans on
his last journey, and he ordered his followers, Duhaut, Hiens, Liolot,
Larcheveque, Teissier, Nika, and his footman Saget, to go and bring it
away. They found the place, but the corn and the beans were spoiled.
Nika was fortunate in killing two buffalo, and the others dispatched
Saget to inform the commander of this fact, and requested him to send
horses for the meat. La Salle, consequently, directed Moraquet, De
Marie, and Saget to return with horses and to send back one of them
loaded with the flesh of the buffalo, for immediate use, and to wait
until the rest was dried.

Moraquet arrived, found that the meat had been smoked, though it was
not dry enough for this process, and Duhaut and the others had laid
aside certain parts to be roasted for themselves, which, it seems,
was the custom on similar occasions. Moraquet, in a passionate manner,
reprimanded them for what they had done, and took away, not only the
smoked meat, but the pieces which they had reserved, saying, in a
menacing tone:

“Comrades, I will do with it as I please!”

This irritated the rest. Duhaut had an old grudge against Moraquet,
and was quite ready to take revenge. He brought over Liolot and Hiens
to help him accomplish his purpose, and finally the others, and they
determined to murder Moraquet, Nika and Saget. In the night, when the
unsuspecting victims were asleep, they were butchered with an ax.

The bloody work had commenced, why not let it continue? The
conspirators laid a scheme, on the spot, to destroy the Sieur de La
Salle. They would shoot him.

Meantime, the courageous leader of the expedition expressed anxiety at
the long absence of Moraquet, and seemed to have forebodings of some
unhappy event. He feared, indeed, that the whole party might have been
cut off by the savages. He determined, finally, to go in search of
them, leaving the camp on the 19th. day of March, in charge of Jontel.
With Father Anastase, and two natives who had served him as guides, he
started out to look for his companions in arms.

The valiant French explorer traveled for about six miles, when he found
the bloody cravat of Saget, one of the murdered men, near the bank of a
river, and, at the same time, two eagles were seen hovering over their
heads, as if attracted by food somewhere on the ground.

La Salle thought that the party must be near, and fired his gun to draw
the attention of those whom he wished to find. Duhaut and Larcheveque
immediately came across the river and advanced to meet him. La Salle
approached, saying:

“Where is the good Moraquet? Has anything happened to him?”

“He is along the river,” answered Larcheveque.

At that moment, Duhaut, who was concealed in the high grass, discharged
his musket, and shot the unsuspecting Chevalier through the head. He
fell forward upon his face, and Father Anastase, who was standing at
his side, expected to share the same fate, until the conspirators told
him that they had no design upon his life.

La Salle lived for about an hour, unable to speak, but continually
pressed the hand of the good priest to signify that he understood
what was said to him. Finally he passed away, and was buried by the
kind father, who shed tears over the body of this brave and valiant

Thus perished the wise Chevalier: generous, engaging, adroit, skillful,
and capable of any accomplishment. He died in the full vigor of life,
in the midst of his career and his labors, without the consolation
of having seen the results of his great explorations. In some of the
higher attributes of character, such as personal courage and endurance,
undaunted resolution, patience under trials, and perseverance in
contending with obstacles and struggling through embarrassments that
might appall the stoutest heart, there is, I believe, no man who
surpassed this Sieur de La Salle. He was cool and intrepid at all
times, never yielding for a moment to despair, or even to despondency,
and he bore the heavy burden of his responsibilities manfully until
the end. To him and to good Father Marquette must be mainly ascribed
the discovery of the vast regions of the Mississippi Valley and its
subsequent occupation and settlement by the French. His name must
therefore always hold a high position among those adventurous souls who
struggled to conquer, to colonize, and to explore the vast American
Continent, when it was a wilderness inhabited by wild men and wild
beasts, and unknown to those of a white complexion.


  Down where the muddied waters run and boil in a rushing flood,
  On the banks of the stream, as if in a dream, a stalwart Frenchman
  And the mocking bird from a blossoming spray sang a song which was
      joyous and gay;
  As the welcoming sun shone on cutlass and gun, these words he trilled
      through the day:

  “_La Salle! La Salle! O brave La Salle!_
  _You’re a man of France, I know,_
  _La Salle! La Salle! O good La Salle!_
  _You can shoot with the gun and the bow._
  _La Salle! La Salle! O true La Salle!_
  _I salute your courage and love,_
  _For the lilies of France, may they wave, may they dance, o’er this
      watery waste from above._”

  And the Frenchman raised his eyes on high and sighed as he gazed afar,
  Where the buffalo grunted and roared on the plain, and the dun-colored
      prong-horns are.
  And he swore an oath, it was round and long, to protect this land for
  By hook and crook, by sword and book, by pike and silvery lance.

  “_La Salle! La Salle! O brave La Salle!”_
  _Sang the bird on the waving branch,_
  _“La Salle! La Salle! O good La Salle!_
  _You’re a soldier true and staunch._
  _O take this land, with its silvery sand, for the King and Queen you
  _And bring us peace; make the redskins cease,_
  _From warfare make them swerve._”

  So the Frenchman stayed, and his men were afraid to leave the land
      he’d found,
  Yet they hated their leader bold and brave, and determined to have him
  And they hatched a plot, the bloodthirsty lot, to shoot the bold and
  Alas! ’twas sad that men were so bad, for they killed him where he

  And the Mississippi gurgled on; it romped, it waved, it ran,
  It pushed by silvery beaches, and it curled by the homes of man,
  While the mocker sat on the whispery branch, it sang and caroled away:

  “_La Salle! La Salle! O brave La Salle!_
  _Too bad! Too bad! Good day!_”




  _Where the green bergs go careening past,_
   _ And the white bears gambol and fight,_
  _Where the little auks whimper and whisper a tale_
    _Of the Ice King’s palace of white._
  _Where the musk-oxen frisk and frolic,_
    _Where the walrus fondles his mate,_
  _’Tis there that a man, who was built on a plan_
    _Of steel, went forth to his fate._

  _O’er the glittering hills of the ice-pack,_
    _O’er the floe and the treacherous lead,_
  _The brown dogs hauled the loaded sledge_
    _With courage and quickening speed._
  _With Eskimos tried and trusted,_
    _With a negro of steadfast soul,_
  _He shook out the flag of the U. S. A._
    _And placed it on top of the Pole._




IMAGINE the sensation which was caused when there suddenly appeared in
the newspapers the following telegram:

 “April the 6th., 1909. Stars and Stripes nailed to the Pole.


People were astonished and looked amazed. Could it be possible that
the North Pole had at last been discovered, after hundreds of years of
effort upon the part of numerous adventurers, many of whom had never
come back to tell the tale? Was it true that, after twenty-three years
of effort, Commander Peary had at last reached the most northern point
upon the earth’s surface? Yes, it seemed to be the fact. At last the
North Pole had been trod upon by the foot of a white man.

Instantly the news was scattered from St. John’s, New Brunswick, and
from New York, to the four corners of the globe, and a great shout of
enthusiastic congratulation went up from every place where civilized
men were gathered together, for all the world had been watching the
plucky commander of the United States Navy, who, for twenty-three
years, had been working upon the problem of how to reach the North
Pole. “Hurrah! Hurrah for Peary!” was heard on every side. “He has been
victorious where hundreds have failed. Again Hurrah!”

Those who disbelieved the first telegram were soon assured by others
that the Pole had really been reached, for Mr. Herbert L. Bridgman,
Secretary of the Peary Arctic Club, was telegraphed to as follows:

 “Pole reached. _Roosevelt_ safe.


And, still later, the Commander’s devoted wife at South Harpswell,
Maine, received the message:

 “Have made good at last. I have the old Pole. Am well. Love. Will wire
 again from Chateau.


Now there could be no doubt that the great feat had really been
accomplished and soon a wireless message from Indian Harbor, Labrador,
told that the good ship _Roosevelt_ was there with all safe on board,
and was steaming southward as fast as she was able.

At length she arrived at New York. A throng of newspapermen and
citizens gathered immediately around the bold explorer, who, with his
companions, was given a royal welcome home. This was as it should have
been, for Peary was the only man who had really stood upon the very top
of this sphere upon which we live.


 _Copyright by Harris and Ewing._


Robert Edwin Peary, who “nailed the Stars and Stripes to the North
Pole,” was born in Cresson, Pennsylvania, May 6th., 1856. When still a
mere lad he moved to Portland, Maine, and, after studying in private
schools and an academy in North Bridgton, Maine, he entered Bowdoin
College, graduating in 1877. He now became a draughtsman in the U. S.
Coast and Geodetic Survey, then passed a stiff examination and entered
the United States Navy as a Civil Engineer, ranking as a Lieutenant.
In 1884, or three years later, he was an assistant government engineer
in the surveys for the proposed route for the Nicaragua Canal,
inventing several rolling locks for the use of the workmen. He became
engineer-in-chief of the Nicaragua Survey.

About this time he began to have ideas connected with the search for
the North Pole, and, obtaining a short leave of absence, made a trip
into Greenland, accompanied by a Dane called Margaard. A faithful
negro, named Matthew Henson, who had served with him in Nicaragua,
followed him to the Arctic on this trip, and continued to be with him
upon all his subsequent expeditions.

Upon his return to civilization, the explorer immediately began to
spend his spare time in preparing for another expedition to the north.
He married, meanwhile, Miss Josephine Diebitsch whom he had met in
Maine when a young man.

In 1891-92 he again made a trip into the frozen fastnesses of the
polar region, which was financed by the Academy of Natural Sciences in
Philadelphia. The Expedition was thoroughly organized before the men
started north, and supplies were left at convenient points, so that
starvation would not kill off the adventurers as it had done to so many
other explorers.

Establishing headquarters at McCormick Bay, on the western coast
of Greenland, Peary and his men made sledge excursions along Whale
Sound, Inglefield Gulf, and Humboldt Glacier, proving that the coasts
of Greenland converged at the northern portion, doubtless forming an
island of what was thought to be a peninsula. Although his leg was
broken when crossing Melville Bay, the brave explorer persisted in
his work, and returned in September, 1892, with a brilliant record of
results accomplished.

With one companion, Astrup, he had ascended to the summit of the great
ice cap which covers the interior of Greenland, 5,000 to 8,000 feet
in elevation, and had pushed northward for 500 miles over a region
where no white man had ever been before. The temperature was from 10
degrees to 50 degrees below zero. On July 4th., 1892, he discovered
Independence Bay, and found a valley nearby, which was radiant with
gorgeous flowers and was alive with murmuring bees. Here also were many
musk-oxen, browsing lazily upon the long, rank grasses.

The explorer now determined to spend his life in an attempt to reach
the Pole, which lay 396 geographical miles farther north than any man
had yet penetrated on the western hemisphere. He was convinced that
the only way to eventually reach his goal was by adopting the manner of
life, the food, the snowhouses, and the clothing of the Eskimos, who
had learned how to combat the rigors of Arctic weather by centuries
of experience. He must also utilize the game of the northland, the
walrus, the musk-oxen, and the reindeer, in order to keep his men in
fit condition and of good temper when the long winter night came upon
them. Lastly he must train the Eskimos so that they should become his
sledging crew.

The first north polar expedition lasted for four years, from 1898 to
1902, and Peary failed to get nearer than 343 miles of the Pole. Each
year dense packs of ice blocked his passage to the polar ocean and he
was compelled to make his base 700 miles from the Pole, or 200 miles
south of the headquarters of Nares, from which point he could reach
the Pole in one season. But during this period, he explored and mapped
hundreds of miles of the coastline of Greenland and of the islands to
the west and north.

The navigator and explorer now designed and constructed the
_Roosevelt_, a boat built to withstand the crush of the masses of ice,
and with this he battled a way to the desired haven upon the shores of
the polar sea. From this place he made a wonderful march to the point
87° 6´, or nearer to the Pole than any man had ever been. He would have
reached the Pole, this time, but winds of excessive fury opened great
leads and robbed him of the prize and nearly of his own life. This was
in 1906.

Commander Peary was now resolved to make his next advance upon the Pole
by the same route as he had just used. His previous efforts had been
financed by Mr. Morris K. Jessup, whose interest in Polar explorations,
and faith in Peary, made him willing at all times to furnish whatever
money the Commander required. But the kind Mr. Jessup was now dead and
the explorer knew that he would have a difficult time to raise the
funds to equip another expedition.

Commander Peary had established a training school for the Eskimos
and their dogs at Etah, and he now learned of the departure of Dr.
Frederick A. Cook, who had served with him upon a previous expedition,
and Mr. John R. Bradley, a noted sportsman, to this point. He knew that
these men might use his Eskimo friends, with their dogs, for a “dash”
to the Pole, while he was held behind a prisoner in New York, because
of the lack of funds. Yet, what could he do without the money?

The _Roosevelt_ was in bad shape and needed overhauling. She was built
in Maine by the Peary Arctic Club for the expedition of 1905 and was
designed by the explorer himself. She was a three-masted, fore-and-aft
schooner-rigged steamship, built entirely of white oak with treble
frames close together, double planked. Her walls were 24 to 30 inches
thick. Her heavy bow was backed by 12 feet of solid deadwood. Her keel
was 16 inches thick and was reënforced with false keels and a keelson.
Her stern, reënforced by iron, had a long overhang to protect the
rudder from the ice, and the rudder itself was so arranged that it
could be lifted out of the water, when jammed or entangled.

It was out of the question to go in 1907, but, by the next season a
great deal of work had been done and sufficient funds had been secured
to make the good, old ship strong and ready again, and to fill her with
necessary stores. A crew was secured, presents for the Eskimos were
on board, and material for sledges, dog harness, guns, ammunition,
and scientific instruments. The ship’s sides were strengthened, her
machinery was made as good as new, and so, at last, she steamed up the
East River, outward bound.

On July 7th., 1908, she stopped near Sagamore Hill, Long Island, the
home of the then President Roosevelt, and the chief Executive grasped
the explorer by the hand, bidding him: “Good luck and God speed!”

The voyager replied that he had never before felt so confident of
winning the Pole and would reach it, this time, or “bust.”

Mr. Roosevelt laughed and waved “good-bye,” as the staunch craft, which
bore his name, plowed forth into the Atlantic.

Reaching Etah in safety, a number of Eskimos were taken on board, and,
pointing her nose toward the north, the _Roosevelt_ disappeared into
a murky fog. A ship called the Erik was nearby, and soon returned to
civilization with the last words from Peary and his men. This was in
August, 1908.

Meanwhile, the _Roosevelt_ was steadily pushed northward, through the
defiles of Kennedy and Robeson channels, where the moving ice opened
here and there and allowed the vessel to steal between the floes. Three
weeks later the Arctic Ocean came in sight. Entering it, the steamer
was turned to the left and was pushed along the coast as rapidly as
could be done against the ice pack. Commander Peary meant, if possible,
to reach Cape Columbia, a headland well to the west and on the north
coast of Grant Land. Yet he could not do this, for the ice, which
pressed against the promontory of Cape Sheridan, shut off any progress
beyond that point. Thus, on the first day of September, the _Roosevelt_
was laid to in a snug harbor under the protection of Cape Sheridan, and
the crew went into winter quarters.

The men amused themselves hunting polar bears, musk-oxen, and caribou
during the long months which had to be passed before the “dash” could
be attempted. The continuous night at length wore itself to a close,
and, in February, the first gray light of the approaching Arctic dawn
began to dispel the darkness.

Upon the fifteenth of that month, 1909, a sledging expedition left
the ship in the direction of Cape Columbia, which was to be the base
camp in the “dash” for the goal of Peary’s ambition. This overland
trip consumed a fortnight, Cape Columbia being reached on March 1st.
Here the adventurers were 420 miles from the North Pole in a straight
line, and, with parties to support him and leave food, the daring Peary
now started towards the top of the earth. In order to get away from
open water he had gone far westward in the effort to avoid the usual
eastward drift of the polar ice and open water, which would defeat his

At last he was off. Open leads—cracks in the ice filled with
water—delayed him greatly during the first ten days of the expedition,
so that by March the eleventh the party had only reached the 84th.
parallel. He kept on, found the ice more even, and by the seventeenth,
had reached the eighty-sixth. On the twenty-third of that month he
outdistanced the best record of a Norwegian, that of Nansen. Here his
last supporting party was sent back, the leader of which, Professor
Ross G. Marvin of Cornell University, lost his life by drowning in an
open lead, April the tenth.

The chosen few, gaunt, hollow-eyed, and energetic, pressed towards
their goal, and, on March the 24th., the best Italian record was
distanced. On, on, they crept over the ice-pack, the dogs trotting
along briskly, and pulling the little sledges slowly but surely towards
the apex of the earth. Living on pemmican (dried meat, sugar, and
raisins) and tea, the leader and his companions kept up both their
strength and their spirits. On March 27th., the 87th. parallel was
passed, and on the 28th. Peary’s own record of “farthest north” was
distanced. The goal was near and confidence increased with every mile
of the advance.

When traveling in this region, heretofore, the gallant explorer had
been often hindered by leads of open water and massive hummocks of
ice. Fate was now propitious and the ice seemed to be more flat and
solid than Peary had ever experienced before. On April 2nd., the 88th.
parallel was crossed. Two days later the 89th. parallel was left
behind, and in two days more, on April the sixth, the little party
reached the center of the northern hemisphere, and Commander Peary
stood at the North Pole. Hurray! Hurray! The goal had been reached!

With the explorer were four trusted Eskimos and the negro Henson, who
had been with him on every expedition. The Eskimos were Ooqueah, Ootah,
Seeglo, and Egingwah. Each of them placed a different flag upon an ice
cap at the uttermost end of the earth. These were the banners of the
Navy League, the D. K. E. Fraternity, the Red Cross Flag, the D. A. R.
Peace Flag, and the flag of the United States carried by the explorer
for fifteen years. All cheered for the Pole and for the flag, and then
had a right merry feast upon the very apex of the earth. No ice was
needed in the water which they drank!

The explorer had been so exhausted when he arrived at the Pole that he
had to seek a few hours’ sleep. Then he arose and wrote the following
words in his diary:

“The Pole at last. The prize of three centuries. My dream and goal for
twenty years. Mine at last! I cannot bring myself to realize it. It
seems all so simple and commonplace!”

Yet, here he was, and he shook hands with all the Eskimos, who seemed
to be childishly pleased at the feat which they had accomplished. Again
they gave “three times three,” with a vim, for the North Pole.

The Commander had good reason to be delighted, for, as he says: “For
more than a score of years that point on the earth’s surface had been
the object of my every effort. To its attainment my whole being,
physical, mental and moral, had been dedicated. Many times my own life
and the lives of those with me had been risked. My own material and
forces and those of my friends had been devoted to this object. This
journey was my eighth into the Arctic wilderness. In that wilderness
I had spent nearly twelve years out of the twenty-three between my
thirtieth and my fifty-third year, and the intervening time spent in
civilized communities during that period had been mainly occupied with
preparations for returning to the wilderness. The determination to
reach the Pole had become so much a part of my being, that, strange
as it may seem, I long ago ceased to think of myself, save as an
instrument for the attainment of that end. To the layman this may seem
strange, but an inventor can understand it, or an artist, or any one
who has devoted himself for years upon years to the service of an idea.”

At about four o’clock on the afternoon of April 7th., the explorers
turned their backs on the Pole, leaving with a sense of sadness, for
this was certainly a scene which their “eye would never see again.” The
journey home was fraught with danger. Would they make it?

The extraordinary speed which they had made in reaching the Pole was
exceeded in the journey home. In sixteen days Cape Columbia had been
reached, for the dogs were good ones, and they averaged twenty-six
miles of travel a day. On April the 23rd., Peary entered his “igloo,”
or ice-house, at “Crane City,” Cape Columbia.

In one march of forty-five miles, Cape Hecla was reached, and the
_Roosevelt_ in another of equal length. The Commander’s heart thrilled,
as, rounding the point of the cape, he saw the little black ship lying
there in her icy berth, with her sturdy nose pointing straight to the
Pole. His dreadful trip was over and Victory perched upon the masts of
the intrepid vessel.

The ship was soon made ready for the homeward voyage. In ten days’ time
she was prepared to sail, and, on July 18th., with only the tragic
memory of the lost and lamented Marvin to lessen the high spirits of
all, the _Roosevelt_ pulled slowly out from the cape and turned her
nose again to the south. On September 25th., she steamed into Indian
Harbor, in Labrador, and the first dispatch went on the wires: “Have
made good at last, I have the Pole.”

Yet, much of the glory of Peary’s Arctic discovery had been spoiled by
Dr. Frederick A. Cook, an impostor, who had come from the north, some
months before, had stated that he had reached the Pole, and had spread
the news broadcast over the civilized world. Many had believed him,
and he was given receptions, balls, the freedom of cities, until his
records were found to be worthless and his story finally discredited.
His advent into the arena at this time was most unfortunate for the
gallant Peary, to whom belongs all the glory and honor which is due a
brave man who did a big deed.

The _Roosevelt_ at last reached the little town of Sydney, Cape Breton,
where Mrs. Peary and the children were to meet the explorer. As the
vessel neared the city, the entire water-front was alive with people.
The seaport to which the adventurous navigator had returned so many
times, unsuccessful, gave him a royal welcome as the _Roosevelt_
steamed into view, flying at her masthead a flag which had never before
entered any port in history,—the North Pole flag.

The success of the expedition was due to the experience, the courage,
endurance, and devotion of its members, who put all that there was in
them into the work; and to the unswerving faith and loyalty of the
Peary Arctic Club, which furnished the funds without which nothing
could have been accomplished. Again, THREE CHEERS FOR PEARY! He is a
hero of whom all may be proud.


  Away up North, in the frozen sea, where the booby walrus breed,
  There lives a Maid, dressed all in white, who rides a snowy steed.
  Her eyes are blue and her tresses gold, she has cheeks of a crimson
  On her head a helmet of dazzling hue, on her bosom a breastplate

  _Oh! hear the penguins laffin, saying, “Baffin! Baffin! Baffin!”_
  _Oh! Hear the penguins laffin, while the cutting blizzards sigh,_
  _Oh! Hear the penguins laffin, saying, “Baffin! Baffin! Baffin!”_
  _The little penguins all bob low as the Misty Maid goes by._

  She’s seen the trail of Nansen, and she’s hovered o’er Peary’s head,
  She’s cried at the fate of Hudson, at the boat of a hundred dead,
  She’s watched the fires of Davis, she’s fastened the anchors of Kane,
  And she’s been near the tents of Franklin, by the icy wind-ripped

  _Oh! hear the penguins laffin, saying, “Baffin! Baffin! Baffin!”_
  _Oh! Hear the penguins laffin, while the cutting blizzards sigh,_
  _Oh! Hear the penguins laffin, saying, “Baffin! Baffin! Baffin!”_
  _The little penguins all bob low as the Misty Maid goes by._

  Yes, the Maid is a Maid of sorrow, her cheeks with tears are dim;
  For the skeletons of a thousand men she’s seen on the North Pole rim.
  As she prances on her snow white steed she beckons to stay away,
  For her home is a home of frozen death—yea! pain and death alway.

  _But hear the penguins laffin, saying, “Baffin! Baffin! Baffin!”_
  _The penguins still are laffin while the cutting blizzards sigh;_
  _You can hear them always laffin, saying, “Baffin! Baffin! Baffin!”_
  _The little penguins all bob low as the Misty Maid goes by._

  The Maid is a girl of sadness, and the Maid is a girl of woe,
  For she’s Mistress of the Polar Sea, of the ice and the darkling floe;
  The Maid has seen the starving crew, she has viewed the drowning boat,
  And her eyes are dim, and her face is cold, for she hears the rattling

  _But hear the penguins laffin, saying, “Baffin! Baffin! Baffin!”_
  _You can always hear them laffin, while the cutting blizzards sigh._
  _Oh! Hear the penguins laffin, saying, “Baffin! Baffin! Baffin!”_
  _The little penguins all bob low as the Misty Maid goes by._

  And the snowy owl, with his wintry cowl, sighs a song of bitter woe,
  While the narwhal swims, and the musk-ox grins, at the crushing
      ice-pack flow,
  For the great white bear sneaks to his lair, where the little seals
      are lying,
  And out of the mist, with the moonlight kissed, a great weird song
      comes sighing:

  _Don’t_ follow the Maid of the Northland; _don’t_ gaze at her laughing
  For the Maid knows naught but sorrow, and naught but the ice king’s
  _Don’t_ look at the Maid of the Polar Seas, her wand is a witch’s
  Just stay away from the North Sea gray. _Don’t go where the penguins



THE history of these adventurous men shows that the human mind, ever
curious and ever anxious to discover new and unknown facts, will
stimulate the endeavors of staunch physical beings to do feats of
daring and energy which those of more contented and passive mentality
will never feel either willing or able to accomplish.

Leif Ericson, Hudson, Pizarro, Peary, all were propelled onward upon
their missions of discovery and of adventure by that curious spark of
daring and love of adventure which has stimulated a Roosevelt and a
Dillon Wallace.

It is the mind that drives onward the body; it is the bump of curiosity
which propels the adventurer to take the risks and the hazards which
are necessary for exploration of unmapped countries.

Restless, dare-devilish souls will always exist, and, now that there
are no parts of the North American continent which are unknown to the
geographer and the man of scientific bent, those who are prompted
onward by the spirit of hazardous adventure must search for the
unknown in the unmapped and untouched regions of Africa or of South
America. Here vast wildernesses call to those of adventurous blood
to come and to admire; to struggle with the elements and to battle
with the currents of their water-courses and the unmarked trails of
their mountains. But no treasure of the Montezumas, nor gold of the
Incas, lie where the restless grasp of the invader can reach out and
appropriate as in the days of the dauntless Cortés and the avaricious

So, live on! O Spirit of Adventure, without which there would be no
sparkle to life, no zest to the journey into the wilderness, no tang to
the canoe trip through the unknown chain of lakes, or the beaver-dammed
water course. Live on! and may you ever exist in the minds of young
America, so that, when the great call shall go up for those of Viking
soul and De Soto daring to rise and press onward for the honor of the
flag, there will be thousands of adventurers who have been trained to
the hazard of the camp, the slap of the paddle, and the gleam of the

They, like the intrepid Peary, will “nail the good, old flag” to
the very ends of the earth, for it represents “liberty, equality,
fraternity”—three glorious qualities for the maintenance of which
every true-minded boy, when he grows to be a man, will be willing to
give his time, his energy, and, if necessary—his life.



  Albuquerque, 188-189

  Almagro, Diego, 220-221, 223-229, 246-247

  Almedo, Father, 129-130, 158, 170

  Alvarado, Lieutenant, 159-161, 170, 177

  Alvarado, Moscoso de, 269

  Anastase, Father, 403-404

  Antonio, Father, 70-71, 75, 78-81

  Astrup, Mr., 414

  Atamara, 63-65, 68

  Balboa, Vasco Nuñez de, 87-105, 195, 219-220

  Barentz, William, 311

  Bartola, Sergeant, 79

  Bayard, Chevalier, 174, 294

  Berardi, 47

  Bonaparte, Napoleon, 228

  Bjarni, son of Herjulf, 6-9

  Bradley, John R., 416

  Bridgman, Herbert L., 412

  Cacama, 144, 155-156, 170

  Cæsar, Julius, 228

  Candia, Pedro de, 228

  Capac, Huascar, 233, 235, 242-245

  Capac, Huayna, 233

  Capac, Manco, 233

  Carthagena, Juan de, 193

  Cartier, Jacques, 276

  Cempoalla, Cacique, 128

  Champlain, Samuel de, 273

  Charles I, of Spain, 229-231, 235, 239, 246, 251-252, 266

  Charles V, 109, 122, 126-127, 135, 143-144, 156, 181, 189-190, 194,
      199, 205-206

  Chastes, Seigneur de, 273, 275-277

  Cilapulapu, 199-200

  Colman, John, 319

  Columbus, Christopher, 8, 13, 17-39, 47, 56, 58, 88, 95, 110, 181, 192

  Columbus, Ferdinand, 18, 20

  Cook, Dr. Frederick A., 416, 422

  Coronado, Francisco Vasquez de, 267

  Cortés, Hernando, 109-183, 205-206, 219, 430

  Cortés, Martin, 182

  Cuilahua, 144

  Dautray, Sieur, 397

  Davis, Richard Harding, 56

  Diebitsch, Miss Josephine, see Peary, Mrs. Robert Edwin

  Dolores, Doña, 67

  Drulettes, Father, 364

  Duhaut, 402-404

  Egingwah, 420

  Emanuel I, 56, 58, 66

  Encisco, 89-92, 100

  Enriquez, Carlo, 261

  Ericson, Freydis, 11-12

  Ericson, Leif, 3-13, 429

  Ericson, Thorstein, 5, 10-11

  Eric the Red, 5-7, 10

  Escobar, 166

  Escovedo, Rodrigo de, 32

  Esequera, Perez de, 69

  Falero, Roy, 189

  Ferdinand V, 22-23, 25, 28, 32-35, 37, 46-47, 52, 65-66, 70-71, 78,
      81, 91-92, 96-97, 99-100, 189

  Fernandez, Garcia, 18-19

  Finnibogi, 11

  Florida, Adelantodo of the Land of, 71

  Florin, Juan, 205

  Francis I, 210, 215

  Frontenac, Count de, 389, 394, 398

  Gama, Vasca de, 308

  Gosnold, Bartholomew, 316

  Grijalva, 112, 116

  Groseillers, 358-359

  Guacanagari, 31

  Guatemozin, 176, 178-180

  Guitierrez, Pedro, 27

  Helgi, 11

  Henry IV, 274, 277, 286, 290

  Henry VIII, 109

  Hennepin, Father, 393

  Henson, Matthew, 413, 420

  Herjulf, 6, 8

  Hiens, 402-403

  Holguin, Garci, 179-180

  Hudson, Hendrick, see Hudson, Henry

  Hudson, Henry, 305-334, 429

  Hudson, John, 309, 311, 333

  Idona, 64

  Ilacomilo, 59

  Isabella I, 18-23, 28, 32-33, 35-37, 46-47, 52, 156, 189

  Jessup, Morris K., 416

  John II, 187, 189, 198

  Joliet, Father, 367-377, 386

  Jontel, 403

  La Motte, Sieur de, 387-393

  Lamudio, 91-92, 96

  Larcheveque, 402, 404

  La Salle, Robert de, 385-405

  Leif Ericson, see Ericson, Leif

  Leif the Lucky, see Ericson, Leif

  Lenobe, 398

  Leon, Juan Ponce de, 63-83

  Leon, Ponce de, see Leon, Juan Ponce de

  Leon, Velasquez de, 153, 170

  Leonora, of Portugal, 187

  Liolot, 402-403

  Lothair, 3-5

  Louis XIV, 386, 397-398

  Luque, Hernando de, 220-221, 224, 228

  Magarino, 170

  Magellan, Ferdinand, 46, 187-202

  Malinche, Marina, 118, 124-125, 138-139, 147, 153-154, 157, 168,

  Margaard, 413

  Marle, De, 402

  Marquette, Father, 363-379, 385-386, 405

  Martin, Alonzo, 97

  Marvin, Professor Ross G., 419, 422

  Medici family, 47

  Mendoza, Luis de, 193-194

  Montaño, Francio, 175-176

  Monteleone, Duke of, 182

  Montezuma, Emperor, 118-127, 132-172, 176, 178, 205

  Monts, Sieur de, 277-278

  Moraquet, 402-404

  Moya, Marchioness, 20

  Murat, Joachim, 174

  Nansen, Fridtjof, 419

  Nares, 415

  Narváez, 159, 161, 170, 254, 257

  Navarre, Henry of, see Henry IV

  Nicuesa, 89-92

  Nika, 402-403

  Nomi, 64

  Ojeda, 47, 52-56

  Olaf Tryggbesson, 6-7

  Olatheta, 77-81

  Olid, 177

  Ooqueah, 420

  Ootah, 420

  Ortiz, Juan, 254

  Peary, Mrs. Robert Edwin, 413, 422

  Peary, Robert Edwin, 277, 309, 411-423, 429-430

  Pedrarias, 100-105

  Perez, Juan, 17-20, 35

  Peru, Incas Atahuallpa Capac, of, 219-220, 233-245, 247, 251, 430

  Pinzon, Francis, 23

  Pinzon, Martin Alonzo, 19, 23, 32

  Pinzon, Vincent, 23

  Pizarro, Francisco, 98, 104, 219-247, 251, 254, 430

  Pizarro, Francisco de Alcantara, 231-232

  Pizarro, Gonzalo, 231-232, 246

  Pizarro, Hernando, 231-232, 246

  Pizarro, Juan, 231-232

  Pocahontas, 254

  Pontgrave, Captain, 278-280

  Quanhpopoca, 152, 154

  Quetzalcoatl, God of the Air, 114, 120-121, 127, 135-136

  Quito, Princess, 233

  Radisson, Pierre Esprit, 339-360

  Richelieu, Cardinal, 295

  Rodriguez, Sebastian, 19-20

  Rolfe, John, 254

  Ruiz, 224-226, 228

  Saget, 402-403

  Salamanca, Juan de, 175

  Sandoval, Captain, 159, 170, 177, 180

  Sannatowah, 73-75

  Seeglo, 420

  Smith, Captain John, 307, 313, 316

  Soto, Diego de, 261

  Soto, Hernando de, 65, 87, 251-270, 430

  Tafur, Captain, 228-229

  Talavera, 21

  Tegesta, 75-76

  Teissier, 402

  Tenhtlile, 118-121

  Tezcuco, King of, see Tezcusans

  Tezcusans, King of, 113, 121

  Thorwald, 11-12

  Tlacopan, King of, 121

  Tonty, Chevalier, 387-393, 395-399, 401

  Totonacs, Chief of, 123-127

  Triana, Rodrigo de, 27

  Tual, 199

  Tubanama, 99, 101

  Tuscaloosa, 259-262, 266

  Valverde, Father, 239-240

  Velasquez, Diego, 111-112, 117, 127

  Verrazano, Giovanni, 205-215

  Vespucci, Americus, see Vespucci, Amerigo

  Vespucci, Amerigo, 45-59

  Vespucci, Anastatio, 45

  Vespucci, Geralamo, 46

  Xuarez, Catalina, 112

Selections from L. C. Page & Company’s Books for Young People


  _Each large 12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated, per volume_  $  2.00
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The clash of broad-sword on buckler, the twanging of bow-strings and
the cracking of spears splintered by whirling maces resound through
this stirring tale of knightly daring-do.


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“There is a lofty ideal throughout, some court intrigue, a
smattering of the decadence of the old church heads, and a readable
story.”—_Middletown Press._



  _Each large 12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated_      $1.75


“The whole range of section railroading is covered in the
story.”—_Chicago Post._


“A vivacious account of the varied and often hazardous nature of
railroad life.”—_Congregationalist._


“It is a book that can be unreservedly commended to anyone who loves a
good, wholesome, thrilling, informing yarn.”—_Passaic News._


“The story is intensely interesting.”—_Baltimore Sun._


Of Worth While Classics for Boys and Girls

_Revised and Edited for the Modern Reader_

  _Each large 12mo, illustrated and with a poster
  jacket in full color_      $2.00




 By C. M. YONGE.





“Tales which ring to the clanking of armour, tales of marches and
counter-marches, tales of wars, but tales which bring peace; a peace
and contentment in the knowledge that right, even in the darkest times,
has survived and conquered.”—_Portland Evening Express._



  _Each one volume, cloth decorative, 12mo, illustrated_      $2.00


“Full of adventure—initiations, joys, picnics, parties, tragedies,
vacation and all. Just what girls like, books in which ‘dreams
come true,’ entertaining ‘gossipy’ books overflowing with
conversation.”—_Salt Lake City Deseret News._

“High ideals and a real spirit of fun underlie the stories. They will
be a decided addition to the bookshelves of the young girl for whom a
holiday gift is contemplated.”—_Los Angeles Saturday Night._



_Each large 12mo, cloth, illustrated, per volume_, $1.75


“A charming story of the ups and downs of the life of a dear little
maid.”—_The Churchman._


“Just the sort of book to amuse, while its influence cannot but be
elevating.”—_New York Sun._


“The story is sweet and fascinating, such as many girls of wholesome
tastes will enjoy.”—_Springfield Union._


“Nancy shows throughout that she is a splendid young woman, with plenty
of pluck.”—_Boston Globe._


“The story is refreshing.”—_New York Sun._



  _Each one volume, cloth, decorative, 12mo, illustrated,
  per volume_      $1.75


“It is a book that cheers, that inspires to higher thinking; it knits
hearts; it unfolds neighborhood plans in a way that makes one tingle to
try carrying them out, and most of all it proves that in daily life,
threads of wonderful issues are being woven in with what appears the
most ordinary of material, but which in the end brings results stranger
than the most thrilling fiction.”—_Belle Kellogg Towne in The Young
People’s Weekly, Chicago._


“It is a clean, wholesome, hearty story, well told and full of
incident. It carries one through experiences that hearten and brighten
the day.”—_Utica, N. Y., Observer._


“It is a bright, entertaining story, with happy girls, good times,
natural development, and a gentle earnestness of general tone.”—_The
Christian Register, Boston._


“The story is told in easy and entertaining style and is a most
delightful narrative, especially for young people. It will also make
the older readers feel younger, for while reading it they will surely
live again in the days of their youth.”—_Troy Budget._


“The author has again produced a story that is replete with wholesome
incidents and makes Peggy more lovable than ever as a companion and
leader.”—_World of Books._


  _Each one volume, cloth decorative, 12mo, illustrated
  by photographs, per volume_      _$2.00_


(“Uncle Chas.”)

“_If you see that it’s by ‘Uncle Chas.’ you know that it’s historically


Who Led the United States and Her Allies to a Glorious Victory.


  _Cloth 12mo, illustrated from specially autographed
  photographs_      _$2.50_

“From Lindy to Bobby Jones, including Helen and Trudy, they are
all here—and a right fine company they are. We are not acquainted
with anyone who will not enjoy these fascinating stories of virile
people.”—_Monthly Book Talk._


  _A companion volume to the above_       _$2.50_

Included in this volume are Charles Francis Adams, Secretary of the
Navy; Rear Admiral Richard Evelyn Byrd, and Miss Amelia Earhart,
three figures bigger than those usually engaged in merely competitive
games—but good sports nevertheless.


 THE FOUNDERS OF AMERICA (Lives of Great Americans from the Revolution
 to the Monroe Doctrine)

 THE BUILDERS OF AMERICA (Lives of Great Americans from the Monroe
 Doctrine to the Civil War)

 FAMOUS LEADERS OF CHARACTER (Lives of Great Americans from the Civil
 War to To-day)




  Series      $2.50

The author includes the foremost figures in the fields of radio,
banking, chain stores, electrical manufacturing, aeronautics,
railroads, automobiles, high finance and newspaperdom.

“These biographies drive home the truth that just as every soldier of
Napoleon carried a marshal’s baton in his knapsack, so every American
youngster carries potential success under his hat.”

  —_New York World._


_Professor, United States Naval Academy, Annapolis_


“In connection with the life of John Paul Jones, Stephen Decatur, and
other famous naval officers, he groups the events of the period in
which the officer distinguished himself, and combines the whole into a
colorful and stirring narrative.”—_Boston Herald._


  _Each one volume, 12mo, illustrated_      $1.65

  PEPIN: A Tale of Twelfth Night

“No works in juvenile fiction contain so many of the elements that
stir the hearts of children and grown-ups as well as do the stories so
admirably told by this author.”—_Louisville Daily Courier._

“Evaleen Stein’s stories are music in prose—they are like pearls
on a chain of gold—each word seems exactly the right word in the
right place; the stories sing themselves out, they are so beautifully
expressed.”—_The Lafayette Leader._



  _Each, one volume, cloth decorative, 12mo, fully
  illustrated, per volume_      $1.50

This series of books for boys needs no recommendation. We venture to
say that there are few boys of any age in this broad land who do not
know and love both these authors and their stirring tales.

These books, as shown by their titles, deal with periods in the history
of the development of our great country which are of exceeding interest
to every patriotic American boy—and girl. Places and personages of
historical interest are here presented to the young reader in story
form, and a great deal of real information is unconsciously gathered.




  _Each 12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated, per
  volume_      $1.65









“Such books as these are an admirable means of stimulating among the
young Americans of to-day interest in the story of their pioneer
ancestors and the early days of the Republic.”—_Boston Globe._

“Not only interesting, but instructive as well and shows the sterling
type of character which these days of self-reliance and trial
produced.”—_American Tourist, Chicago._

“The stories are full of spirited action and contain much valuable
historical information. Just the sort of reading a boy will enjoy
immensely.”—_Boston Herald._



Eleven Volumes

The Hildegarde-Margaret Series, beginning with “Queen Hildegarde” and
ending with “The Merryweathers,” make one of the best and most popular
series of books for girls ever written.

  _Each large 12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated,
  per volume_                              $ 1.75
  _The eleven volumes boxed as a set_      $19.85





  _Each one volume, cloth decorative, 12mo, illustrated_      $1.75


“This is a story that rings as true and honest as the name of the
young heroine—Honor—and not only the young girls, but the old ones
will find much to admire and to commend in the beautiful character of
Honor.”—_Constitution, Atlanta, Ga._


“Girls will love the story and it has plot enough to interest the older
reader as well.”—_St. Louis Daily Globe-Democrat._




  _Cloth decorative, 12mo, with eight plates in full
  color and many text illustrations_      $1.75

“Little ones will understand and delight in the stories and
poems.”—_Indianapolis News._


  _Cloth decorative, square 12mo, illustrated_      $1.75

A charming collection of short stories and clever poems for children.


  _Cloth decorative, square 12mo, illustrated_      $1.75

A noteworthy collection of short stories and poems for children, which
will prove as popular with mothers as with boys and girls.



_Each large 12mo, cloth, illustrated, per volume_ $2.00


(Trade Mark)

Being three “Little Colonel” stories in the Cosy Corner Series, “The
Little Colonel,” “Two Little Knights of Kentucky,” and “The Giant
Scissors,” in a single volume.


(Trade Mark)

Tales about characters that appear in the Little Colonel Series.—“Ole
Mammy’s Torment,” “The Three Tremonts,” and “The Little Colonel in

  (Trade Mark)

  (Trade Mark)

  (Trade Mark)

  (Trade Mark)

  (Trade Mark)

  (Trade Mark)

  (Trade Mark)

  (Trade Mark)

  (Trade Mark)


_These thirteen volumes, boxed as a set, $26.00_


  _Cloth decorative, with special designs and
  illustrations_      $1.25

In choosing her title, Mrs. Johnston had in mind “The Road of the
Loving Heart,” that famous highway, built by the natives of Hawaii,
from their settlement to the home of Robert Louis Stevenson, as a
memorial of their love and respect for the man who lived and labored
among them, and whose example of a loving heart has never been
forgotten. This story of a little princess and her faithful pet
bear, who finally _do_ discover “The Road of the Loving Heart,” is a
masterpiece of sympathy and understanding and beautiful thought.


  _Each small 16mo, decorative boards, per
  volume_      $0.75








  Uniform in size with the Little Colonel Series      $2.50
  Bound in white kid (morocco) and gold                6.00
  Cover design and decorations by Peter Verberg.

“A mighty attractive volume in which the owner may record the good
times she has on decorated pages, and under the directions as it were
of Annie Fellows Johnston.”—_Buffalo Express._


  Each large 12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated, per
  volume      $1.75



“Mothers and fathers and kind elder sisters who take the little
ones to bed and rack their brains for stories will find this book a
treasure.”—_Cleveland Leader._


“Children will call for these stories over and over again.”—_Chicago
Evening Post._


“Little ones will understand and delight in the stories and their
parents will read between the lines and recognize the poetic and
artistic work of the author.”—_Indianapolis News._


“Once upon a time there was a man who knew little children and the kind
of stories they liked, so he wrote four books of Sandman’s stories, all
about the farm or the sea, and the brig _Industry_, and this book is
one of them.”—_Canadian, Congregationalist._



“Here is a fine collection of poems for mothers and friends to use
at the twilight hour. They are not of the soporific kind especially.
They are wholesome reading when most wide-awake and of such a soothing
and delicious flavor that they are welcome when the lights are
low.”—_Christian Intelligencer._



This time the Sandman comes in person, and takes little Joyce, who
believes in him, to the wonderful land of Nod. There they procure pots
and pans from the pansy bed, a goose from the gooseberry bush, a chick
from the chickweed, corn from the cornflower, and eat on a box from
the boxwood hedge. They have almost as many adventures as Alice in






“They are written in a style that will appeal most strongly to
children, and the promise of a Sandman story before retiring will be
found an adequate relief to many a tired mother. The simplicity of the
stories and the fascinating manner in which they are written make them
an excellent night cap for the youngster who is easily excited into
wakefulness, for the Sandman stories never frighten the kiddie.”

  —_The Pittsburgh Leader._





The Indian tales for this Celebrated Series of Children’s Bedtime
Stories have been written by a man who has Indian blood, who spent
years of his life among the Redmen, in one of the tribes of which he
is an honored member, and who is an expert interpreter of the Indian
viewpoint and a practised authority on Indians as well as a master
teller of tales.




“Miss LeBert creditably carries on the series that Page has made famous
over a period of years. She has grasped finely the spirit of Japan and
its legends, and in turn sets down on paper delicate, fragile bits of
beauty. A charming book for any boy or girl.”

  —_Ohio State Journal._


[1] A small star-like flower growing close to the ground and blooming
through the planting season, when the redskins laid warfare aside.

      *      *      *      *      *      *

Transcriber’s note:

—Obvious errors were corrected.

—Spanish spelling and accents are very different depending on how old
 is the writing; these differences have been retained.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Famous Discoverers and Explores of America - Their Voyages, Battles, and Hardships in Traversing and Conquering the Unknown Territories of a New World" ***

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